A common theme in recent years regarding long-term care in New York is the shuttering of county-owned public nursing homes. Historically, facilities to provide specialized care to seniors were built in different communities, with operation and ownership in the hands of local policymakers. But with financial pressures mounting, that format is changing quickly.
In the latest news on the same topic, WAMC reported earlier last month on the state audit which found that many county homes were in poor financial health. For example, the story point to the fiscal challenges faced by the facility in Saratoga County. The report notes that the county’s entire budget was in trouble because of the cost of subsidizing the home.
According to the New York State Comptroller’s audit, the county’s general fund balance was more than halved in the period from the beginning of 2010 to the end for 2012 (from nearly $25 million to just over $10 million). This massive loss of reserves was caused almost exclusively by the increased fiscal burden of the local nursing home–Maplewood Manor. In order to keep the long-term care facility in operation, the county was forced to put $13 million into the facility from reserves.
The required influx of funds has ramifications on other county operations, as the chair of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors noted, “As that money comes out of the general fund, we’ve had to make cuts to our road program, to our sheriff’s department, we’ve had a hiring freeze going on now three years at the county.”
As a result, the County has been in preparations to sell the facility for quite some time. Those most involved explain that they hope a sale to be finalized next year.
Shifting Long-Term Care Environment
Considering the sweeping consequences of publicly owned facilities entire community budgets, it is little wonder that many counties are getting out of the operation altogether. Many public homes have been sold to private buyers who often enact various changes at the facilities to make them more fiscally stable. Unfortunately, many are concerned that those changes lead to inadequate care being provided to seniors.
At the same time, various support programs, like Medicaid, are trying to expand options as an alternative to the traditional nursing homes. This is a positive development for those with concerns about quality at local facilities.
To learn about preparing for these needs and securing the best care possible for you or a loved one, please contact our New York elder law attorneys today.