The Rockland County Legislature voted in favor of a resolution authorizing the county executive to develop a plan on the future of the Summit Park Nursing Home so the plan can be put into action before the end of the year.
The resolution passed 15-1, with Legislator Doug Jobson voting against it, and one legislator absent at Tuesday’s meeting.
It says the options include, but aren’t limited to, selling it, leasing it, closing it or reducing the size and scope. The plan doesn’t include the hospital or mental health portions of Summit Park.
“The purpose of this resolution is to make a public statement and a statement to the rating agencies that we are prepared to separate from the nursing home,” Legislator Ilan Schoenberger said. “We want to separate the loss and keep the profit part, the loss being the nursing home and the profit part being the longterm acute care beds, and I don’t want to tie the county executive’s hands in his review of this and take away options from him. He should have all the options available to him so that when he comes back to report to us, that we are able to weigh those options.”
Legislator Chris Carey made a motion for an amendment to resolution to take out the part about possibly reducing the size and changing the scope of the facility.
“I feel based on what I heard that that’s not a viable alternative that the county executive should continue,” Carey said, adding he feels that if it’s taken off the table, it will allow the county executive to focus on the viable options for the nursing home.
The motion was seconded by Legislator Frank Sparaco, who said he fears that the legislature will be dealing with the issue of the nursing home as long as the county owns it, so it’s best to sell it. He added that “years of inaction” have led to the need to sell it, and so he also wanted the last part of the resolution taken off.
“The bottom line is I just don’t feel like we can leave, in my opinion, what is the wrong option on the table because if the wrong option’s on the table, this government’s going to take the wrong path,” he said. “If I was in the casino and there were people that run this government there betting on red, I’d bet black.”
The amendment failed with just four legislators voting in favor of it. Carey and Sparaco both said that while they would’ve preferred the resolution with the amendment, they feel coming up with a plan for the future of the nursing home was important enough to vote in favor of the resolution.
Legislator John Murphy voted against the amendment.
“There are very many options that exist out there specializing our nursing home that have not been explored,” he said.
Murphy brought up two possible options: a facility for people who live on machines or a veteran’s hospital. In both instances, Murphy said there are no nearby examples of either kind of care center.