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Melissa Cohen | Democrat

Sullivan County Adult Care Center President Fred Robinson, standing, speaks at last Tuesday’s gathering. Listening, from the left, are Priscilla Bassett of SLAC, Vice-President Robert Konvalin, Treasurer Barbara Konvalin and Lou Setren, representing the Teamsters at the facility.

Adult Care Center supporters gather

By Melissa Cohen
LIBERTY — March 9, 2010 — Last Tuesday’s Family Council meeting at the Sullivan County Adult Care Center (SCACC) to discuss the financial funding issues the nursing home gave some answers, but also left questions unanswered.
Priscilla Bassett, co-chair of the Senior Legislative Action Committee (SLAC) provided updates on the potential candidates to take over the facility, which has an occupancy rate over 90 percent, with 80 percent funded by Medicaid.
Achieve Nursing Facility in Liberty was a possibility, but Bassett expressed concerns over its for-profit status and that 34 beds would be taken away in the takeover.
“We need more, not fewer [beds],” Bassett insisted. “We want to keep the nursing home the way it is.”
With the elderly living longer and the baby boomers aging, the need for nursing homes will only increase, participants noted.
Bassett relayed to those attending a meeting with Catskill Regional Medical Center CEO Steve Ruwoldt. CRMC is another possible contender to take over the facility, and, according to Bassett, Ruwoldt stated, “We think [the hospital] could run it better.”
Martha Wilcox of Roscoe, a community health nurse representing 20 RNs at the facility, pointed out that nurses could make more money at CRMC, but are dedicated to SCACC.
“We need to fight for these people because they cannot fight for themselves,” Wilcox explained in reference to the residents at SCACC.
Although the fate of SCACC is still uncertain, one thing is clear: Family Council, Senior Legislative Action Committee, the Teamsters Union, and other supporters such as New York State Nurses Association are ready to fight to keep SCACC the way it is – a county-run facility.
Lou Setren, Teamsters Union representative for over 100 staff at the Adult Care Center, spoke out with optimism on doing just that.
“Nobody is pounding down the door to take over this facility,” Setren said, and concluded that the legislature is fearful of cuts and this is an attempt to reduce the workforce. Setren referred to this as “another case of scare and misdirection with fear used as the weapon.”
Setren explained how for those he represents, “this is not just a job, but a relationship and an emotional commitment with the residents.”
Emmett Bassett, a concerned senior citizen in attendance remarked, “I just don’t see how anyone can close this place. Where would people go?”
Wilcox announced that she and a group of other SCACC nurses are going to march in Albany on March 8 for the cause.
Setren concluded, “We still need to send the message that this is not the place to look to balance the budget.”

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