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Albany County executive to draft long-term health care plan

Albany County Executive Michael Breslin must come up with a plan for long-term health care for the county within the next 90 days.

The resolution, unanimously passed by the Albany County Legislature Monday, June 8, addressed a topic of debate for over 10 years: the fate of the Albany County Nursing Home.

The county downsized the number of beds at the nursing home from 420 to 250 after the New York State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, also known as the Berger Commission, recommended it in 2007.

The building, located at 780 Albany Shaker Road, has been labeled by spokespersons of the county executive's office as antiquated and is required to meet new fire regulations by 2013. These regulations include a full sprinkler system to run throughout the building " something that officials say is both costly and time intensive.

Some residents at the June 8 meeting raised the question of why a new nursing home needs to be built at all, though many argue that the services that are provided at the nursing home are essential to the quality of life of senior citizens in the county and cannot continue to be provided in the old building.

While Breslin has talked about finding a new location for the nursing home for some time, people close to the issue say the reason he has not made any moves is because he is not interested in having a nursing home.

In a letter obtained by The Spotlight dated March 6 that was sent from Breslin's office to two individuals in the Office of the New York State Governor, Breslin talked about the financial burdens of operating the facility.

"If the county chooses to build a new facility, the financial burden of operating the facility will grow exponentially over the next 30 to 40 years and proportionally reduce the opportunities for further investments in the non-institutional services. Indeed, given today's economic climate, it could force reductions in the more sensible home and community based services," he wrote.

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