Rockland County Legislators voted Monday night to transfer the Summit Park Hospital to the Rockland County Health Facilities Corporation (RCHFC) for possible sale. The hospital will join the Summit Park Nursing Care Center, which is already under the jurisdiction of the RCHFC.
The corporation was established
for the purpose of selling the nursing home, which has been a financial
liability costing the county millions to operate each year. Rockland's budget deficit is expected to reach approximately $140 million at the end of this year.
Legislative Chairwoman Harriet Cornell said the corporation received four proposals for the nursing home and two of them expressed interest in obtaining access to all of Building A in the Yeager Health Complex in Pomona, where the nursing home and hospital are located. Before legislators voted 12 to 3 in favor of transferring the hospital to the corporation about a dozen people spoke about the proposal. Two legislators did not attend the meeting.
Rockland Business Association President Al Samuels was the only person who spoke in support of selling the hospital. He said his organization had recommended the county divest the hospital and nursing home for a long time.
CSEA official Larry Sparber said potential privatization of the long-term acute care facility would eliminate hundreds of jobs. He said the hospital fills a gap in care that other hospitals and nursing homes do not provide.
“It’s a bridge for care,” Sparber said. “It’s the only long term acute (care) hospital in three counties.”
He noted the facility makes money but it has not been properly managed. Billy Riccaldo, president of CSEA Region 3, also said the nursing home has been mismanaged for years and that both facilities could be profitable. He asked that the legislators postpone taking a vote so that incoming County Executive Ed Day could assess the situation. He also requested a freeze on eliminating jobs starting at 12:01 a.m. on January 1.
“Because you know what all these people here didn't cause this,” he said. “I didn’t cause this. The residents in Rockland County didn’t cause this. The residents in the hospital and the clients of mental health didn’t cause this. Both branches of this government caused what we’re in.”
Donna Gloc, a 50-year county resident and hospital nurse liaison, said, “I really wish you would reconsider and not sell the hospital.”
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