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Nursing home report paints bleak picture

Maplewood Manor fate yet to be decided while county looks to fill empty beds

Spencer Hellwig, Saratoga County administrator, takes part in the discussion on issues surrounding Maplewood Manor at a meeting of the Saratoga County Public Health Committee on Monday, Sept. 10.

Spencer Hellwig, Saratoga County administrator, takes part in the discussion on issues surrounding Maplewood Manor at a meeting of the Saratoga County Public Health Committee on Monday, Sept. 10. Photo by Julie Cushine-Rigg.

— Saratoga County officials, facing dwindling reserves and a stubborn recession, are simultaneously faced with decisions regarding both the long-term and short-term future of the Maplewood Manor nursing home.

Not only is the county-run facility expected to lose $10 million in 2013, as projected by a recently released report, it is not operating at full capacity, with 39 of its 277 beds empty.

Status quo not an option

Members of the Board of Supervisors and the county’s Public Health Committee are now poring over a 149-page independent report conducted by Harris Beach and the Arthur Webb Group that was commissioned as the county mulls how to handle public nursing home options.

“The report actually listed four (options), these are things that have been done in other counties. Some counties have actually sold the license in the home, in others they’ve changed the level of care scaled to assisted living,” said County Administrator Spencer Hellwig.

Constructing a new facility was also offered as a possibility in the report, as was keeping the current course. It is increasingly clear, however, the latter option is unfeasible.

“Staying status quo, that’s really not a viable option,” said Arthur Wright, chairman of the Public Health Committee.

A portion of the report reads, “The Maplewood fiscal crisis had grown to the point that the operating deficit was having a significant negative impact on the county’s fund balance … to the point where the financial drain of Maplewood was manifesting itself in difficult policy choices for the decision-makers in the county government.”

It is expected the Public Health Committee will hand in a recommendation on the nursing home’s future in October.

“We’re not under any kind of (time) constraints at this point but we’re losing eight, nine, 10 million dollars a year, so I mean we’re kind of under the gun now,” said Wright.

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