Angry citizens crowded picketed before the Saratoga County Supervisors public hearing Wednesday, Jan. 9, voicing their objections to the supervisors’ plan to privatize the Maplewood Manor nursing home.
Photo by Marci Revette.
Saratoga resident Sam Brewer, an Iraqi veteran, had a more personal reason to protest the privatization. He said it is a simple matter of democracy.
“There are bonds that form the country together,” he said. “We have an obligation to take care of those vulnerable in society.”
Garrison was blunt regarding the fate of the county workers should Maplewood be privatized.
“Please don’t turn to us and say, ‘Yeah, it was really nice the job you did, but screw you now.’ That is unacceptable,” she said. “We all know this is a done deal, but it doesn’t pass the smell test.”
There is no question that the county-owned nursing home is in financial trouble. According to the 2013 budget, it is losing around $10 million a year, mainly because of untimely Medicaid reimbursements.
The question arises over whether the nursing home can be retained and continue to be run by the county or whether the county should cut its losses and sell the troubled facility.
The majority of the supervisors have said they feel selling Maplewood is the only option.
“This sale is the function of a system that doesn’t work,” said Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett. “Saratoga County, along with many other counties, is tackling this process.”
Barrett said he is voting for the privatization with a heavy heart, a feeling he says is shared by his fellow supervisors.
“This process is not one that any supervisors have entered into willingly,” he said. “As county supervisors, we can’t change the system. When you look at the budget and to see the nursing home experience such huge deficits, you see little hope of narrowing the gap.”
Barrett said the nursing home was “doomed from the start.” He said the facility loses $30,000 a day because of Medicaid reimbursements.
“That is starting off as an impossible situation,” he said. “How do you close a $30,000 a day deficit? You can’t do it.”