NY Nursing Homes Wrestle With Privatizing

Sep 7, 2012

The cost of running nursing homes, combined with the expensive capital costs needed to keep the facilities up to date, and cuts in Medicaid made in Washington, has prompted numerous counties across New York State to ponder closing - or selling - their facilities. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

Mark Levine, Deputy Director of the New York State Association of Counties, says County Leaders do not WANT to sell their Nursing Homes.

The latest chpater in the county-run nursing home dilemma is playing out in Orange County, where this week a special committee investigating the Valley View nursing home submitted its final report to the Legislature. It took two months, 28 witnesses and 142 documents - over 2-thousand pages of testimony:

Committee chairwoman Roxanne Donnery of Highland Falls called the probe and ensuing report "historic"

The report, which panel members say will be posted on the county website, suggests Valley View remain under County control. It affirmed that the cost to taxpayers to run the facility was exaggerated and existing financial problems were brought on by poor management and the county failing to address deficiencies. NYSAC's Mark Levine says counties have to look at every discretionary dollar being spent, trying to figure out what they can keep and what they can cut.

Decisions about the future of public nursing homes in Saratoga and Suffolk counties are expected in October.

In most cases when a nursing home changes hands, the residents are not tossed out, but, some observers believe privatization puts residents care at risk: When Fulton County's nursing home was recently privatized, employees lost their pension plan and health insurance premiums doubled.  New hires were reportedly brought in at reduced salaries.

Back in Orange County, it's now up legislators to decide whether to actually sell Valley View or attempt to reach a funding agreement to keep the nursing home afloat through 2013.