Archive for March, 2011

Golden Hill Observations

March 19, 2011 2 comments

Golden Hill Health Care Center
Dear Colleagues,
The New York State presentation to the Ulster County Legislature on Friday March 11, 2011 regarding Nursing Homes was enlightening. A few of the more significant policy trends that I think I heard Mr. Kissinger relay to the audience are;
Private Nursing homes receive more funding than County Nursing Homes
Private Nursing Homes are allowed to pick healthier residents than County Homes. This practice is called “Cherry Picking”. The New York State Government has not been able to change this. Does this mean that the Private Nursing Home Industry has lobbying influence that stifles our government from writing legislation that would correct this inequity? I think it does.
There will be a “Change” in funding levels from New York State to Counties this spring and it won’t be an increase. OK, if we stay at the same level of funding for nursing homes, it will not be a change. If the change is not going to be an “Increase”, it would appear that Mr. Kissinger has told us that we can expect a decrease in funding this spring from New York State to Counties for Nursing Home Funding.
New York State wants more assisted living beds and less Nursing Home beds.
New York State is not going to take a Leadership Role in assisting Counties in making plans for Elder Care/Nursing Home Care, even as numerous Counties are trying to make decisions of what type of service to offer Elders in our communities. Even when New York State and the Federal Government continue to be the main funding sources and the initiators of policy, they are willing to let local Legislatures try to solve these challenges without assistance. Editorial note: What happened to Strategic Planning? Regionalization? Efficiencies of scale? Nope! You’re on your own! Good Luck! ??????
I think Mr. Kissinger informed Ulster County in the gentlest manner that continuation in the Nursing Homes business would be extremely difficult at best, and untenable in normal circumstances. New York State discriminates in favor of Private Nursing Home Operators and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
As the Ulster County Legislature continues to deliberate the future of providing service to the elderly of this county I think it should take this challenge and transform it to a opportunity. The legislature must resist a rush to judgment regardless of pressure from the media, executive branch or numerous vocal stakeholders. There are models of Elder Care in the United States and elsewhere that need to be examined to determine an appropriate and progressive path to comprehensive dignified service to our Senior population.
Very close to home there is a model emerging that shows an impressive response to the needs our Seniors. The Ellenville Hospital on Route 209 has transformed a failing mediocre hospital into a pristine, state of the art Emergency Care/ General Medical and Rehab Facility. Just steps from the front door of the Hospital you have the Ellenville Senior Living Center. The brand new senior living center provides clean, energy efficient, and secure housing. The residents of this housing complex also provide a consistent patient flow to the Ellenville Hospital just by virtue of their regular medical service needs. The Seniors receive competent convenient medical attention and the hospital has a continuous clientele (coupled with the needs of the community beyond the Senior Complex the hospital is financially whole). If one was to add a Nursing Home facility to the existing medical-housing campus, the combination of needs and services would be very symbiotic. The seniors at the housing complex are continuously looking for “Jobs” and would be an excellent source of volunteer assistance for a Nursing Home facility. A “Combination Care Campus” (as seen in the Ellenville Hospital Campus) would appear to be an ideal model to emulate and recreate in areas of need throughout the county. A single license holder could create satellite Care Campuses filling housing and medical care needs in an efficient and profitable manner. I believe we should reissue our Request for Proposal to solicit interest in this type of model of care which may very well incorporate a partnership approach to development.
If anyone is interested in touring the Ellenville Hospital and adjacent senior housing complex I would be happy to facilitate an appointment. I believe it is important to see what CAN be accomplished if we think just slightly out of the box. I worked for a former Marine who used to say “Lead or get the Hell out of the Way”. I think we can and we should lead and create a superior place in life for the people who have given so much to us. Let’s restore dignity to our elderly and ease the fears of growing old. Let’s do it right this time.

Jack Hayes