By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Switching from previous ruminations on selling the facility, legislators on Thursday favorably discussed a report that suggested a variety of improvements to the Sullivan County Adult Care Center in Liberty.
“Things change in 20 years,” said Interim Director James Galligan, referencing the center’s 1990 construction.
Yet the county-run nursing home has not had a major upgrade in those two decades, he pointed out.
“We get seven TV channels,” he said of residents’ rooms, by way of example. “We’ve got to upgrade that!”
Thus the report recommended:
• resuming the Restorative Nursing Program (now under way)
• recruiting more Medicare residents for short- and long-term physical therapy
• more aggressively marketing the facility
• formalizing respite care services for caregivers and their loved ones
• redecorating rooms with new furniture, expanded TV availability and Internet connectivity
• starting an IV program in-house
• training all staff in new federal and state reporting requirements
• replacing some of the parking spaces with a larger patio
• creating a new ambulance entrance
• sprucing up the main entrance
• adding access to next-door Sunset Lake
• building an outside storage structure
• establishing a secure Alzheimer’s unit
• reconfiguring existing units to encourage more community living and independence
Legislator Jodi Goodman worried about the costs, especially for wireless Internet and the Alzheimer’s unit, but Legislator Kathy LaBuda felt that “once we fill the beds, we’re not going to run in the red.”
The 160-bed facility currently operates at an 87 percent occupancy rate, said Galligan, which the county must increase in order to maintain the center’s viability.
No decisions were made Thursday, though especially with $5 million in overdue federal/state reimbursements now paid to the center, it seemed at least some of the recommendations could be implemented.
“These are no-brainers,” observed Legislator David Sager. “It’s how you become more competitive in the marketplace.”