Elder Care

Ulster County Seal

Elder Care in Ulster County    August 25, 2011

Some members of the Ulster County Legislature are drafting a resolution to require the County to continue to operate a skilled care nursing facility, despite the fact that County Executive Mike Hein has predicted a $25 million dollar budget deficit for 2012. The Executive has also questioned the reliability of New York State funding for the facility. The federal government is running a $1.3 trillion dollar deficit and New York State has a $9 billion dollar deficit. We are in an Economic Emergency and my colleagues are proposing $100 million dollar expenditures. Ulster County does not have a good record of managing such projects (Ulster County Jail cost overruns).
I am resolved to keep the 280 bed Skilled Care Nursing License in Ulster County. That said I believe a Public/Private Partnership of “Elder Care” service would be the best approach to maintain quality care and tax relief to the citizens of Ulster County. I prefer to identify our medical needs as “Elder Care” as opposed to the name of one facility. There are tens of thousands residents of our county reaching the elder years. We need a comprehensive strategic master plan to address the needs of this population group. We have the opportunity to create an Elder Care Campus Model in our region that will answer the needs of our seniors as well as create economic growth. The senior housing and adjacent medical facility at the Ellenville Hospital are an example of “Campus Design”. The addition of a skilled care nursing facility at that location would complete a holistic and symbiotic treatment center for elders. That model could be duplicated throughout the region and would facilitated keeping seniors in their own homes longer. Independent senior living and assisted living is much less expensive than skilled care institutions.
Raising County Taxes 30% to build one facility will negatively affect thousands of seniors and other residents who are barely able to afford current costs of living in our county. We can and will maintain high caliber health care for our Elders and we will do it in a cost effective, pragmatic manner. We can change a challenge to an opportunity by partnering with Adult Housing Professionals and recognized Elder Care Providers. The needs of our aging populations are too personal to be relegated to election cycle antics. Our seniors deserve to maintain their dignity and are due our respect. Proper planning not politics is the solution to our Elder Care needs. It’s time for all parties to work toward that end.

Legislator Jack Hayes, District 8

Chairman  Law Enforcement & Public Safety  Committee

P.O. Box 1800
Kingston, NY  12402
Telephone:  845 340-3900
FAX:  845 340-3651

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