Albany County leg passes nursing home amendment

While County Executive Mike Breslin waits for the amendment to his plan for long-term care, which includes the construction of a new skilled nursing facility, to arrive on his desk, Breslin said the county cannot afford to operate and maintain the facility that Albany County Legislators are proposing through the amendment that was passed at a meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

We must move forward to expand home and community based services to give people more choices in long-term care, Breslin said in a statement Wednesday, Oct. 14. "If the county continues to operate a nursing home, deeper cuts in these, and other county services and significant property tax increases would be needed."

Last week, during Breslin's 2010 Budget announcement, the county executive proposed laying off 74 nursing home employees as part of the plan to ultimately phase out the county nursing home and instead, bring more in-home care programs to the county as part of a long-term care plan he introduced last month.

But at the county legislature's meeting on Tuesday, legislators showed their support for a new nursing facility when they approved the amendment which asks for a comprehensive study looking into the size at which a new nursing home should be built, including number of beds, and asking for a new nursing facility to be part of the county executive's long-term care plan with a 36 to 2 vote.

Several people who spoke in favor of a new nursing home referred to a three-legged stool, calling assisted living care, home-based care and a skilled nursing facility the three pillars that are needed for a true comprehensive long-term care plan. But the two legislators who voted against the amendment, Charles Dawson, D-Glenmont, and Dr. Patrick Timmins, D-Latham, said that a strengthened home-based care can provide those pillars without needing a costly new facility.

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