Rockland County Legislator Ed Day (R-New City) hopes the long-awaited state audit of county finances will answer questions about the financial condition of Summit Park Hospital & Nursing Center in Pomona and whether it lost money in 2010. He said the audit was requested in November during the budget process but it did not get started until January. In the meantime, Day is looking for answers and calling upon representatives of the county hospital and finance departments and county executive's office to meet with the legislature's budget and finance committee in August.
Ron Levine, director of communications for the county executive’s office, said the completed state audit, which will include the hospital, is expected in the next few weeks.
County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef’s proposal to create a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) is on hold. If established, the public benefit corporation would take over the ownership and operation of Summit Park Hospital, the county's nursing home in Pomona so that it would no longer be part of the county government.
In March, Vanderhoef said a new public benefit corporation could raise money necessary to pay the county government for Summit Park Hospital and that the funds would be ample to cover the county's deficits for at least three years. The county had a deficit of $38 million at the end of 2009 and according to Acting Budget Director Stephen DeGroat the deficit for 2010 could be $50 million.
To make the PBC plan possible, the state Legislature must approve what is known as "home rule" legislation that would allow the county to create the public benefit corporation, which would have its own board of directors. The hospital, which lost money in prior years, may also have red ink of up to $10 million from 2010.
Levine said the county executive was asked by the legislature to find a consultant to evaluate the PBC proposal.
“We will have a consultant in the very near future,” said Levine, adding the consultant will determine the pros and cons of a PBC.