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Dan Hust | Democrat

Sullivan County Adult Care Center Family Council Treasurer Barbara Konvalin addressed legislators on Thursday about her commitment to the center.

With state aid uncertain, county struggles over Adult Care Center

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — February 16, 2010 — With state aid uncertain, the county is investigating what to do with its Adult Care Center in Liberty.
The nursing home offers 160 beds for county residents, and a volunteer Family Council monitors, supports and enhances operations.
Funding is supposed to come from the state, but in past years, a $3.4 million payment has gone lacking, forcing the county to support the center partly out of local tax dollars.
Catskill Regional Medical Center has expressed some interest in taking over operations, but in the meantime, the county is organizing a task force to study options.
Since those options could include privatizing or shutting down the facility, members of the Family Council and employees and supporters of the Adult Care Center made it a point to attend Thursday’s discussion at the Legislature’s Executive Committee meeting.
“It sounds as though you’ve made a foregone conclusion that the Adult Care Center should be transferred to another entity,” accused Priscilla Bassett, co-chair of the Senior Legislative Action Committee (SLAC). “We believe the Adult Care Center offers stability to our county.”
“Priscilla, I can assure you: there are no foregone conclusions by anyone at this table,” replied Legislature Chairman Jonathan Rouis. “... This is going to take several months to even know what our options are and aren’t.”
Family Council Treasurer Barbara Konvalin hoped to be a part of that process.
“We will work with the county to keep that nursing home as a county home,” she promised.
If the state continues to fund the center, Rouis said keeping it county-run is a distinct possibility.
But, warned County Manager David Fanslau, if funding drops off, local taxpayers would have to make up the difference.
“In fact, the former public nursing home grant has been eliminated from the current state fiscal year budget and the proposed state fiscal year budget,” Fanslau pointed out. “Also, as part of the cuts announced by the Paterson Administration, public health funding takes a huge hit. The Adult Care Center is largely dependent upon Medicaid rates, and the state has not adjusted those rates to equalize the actual costs of providing the services.”
Teamsters union rep Lou Setren, however, looked at the more than 100 people who work at the center.
“Our folks are emotionally invested in that facility and the residents of that facility,” he explained. “Sometimes it’s about more than dollars and cents. We have a moral imperative here, not just a financial imperative.”

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