“Dismayed and angry”

County residents argue against proposed Care Center sale

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 7/15/20

Not that long ago, said Dr. Paul Salzberg, Sullivan County was praising the caregivers and administration at the Care Center at Sunset Lake. They’d worked hard, double shifts, through the pandemic, taking care of the county’s elderly and disabled. 

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

“Dismayed and angry”

County residents argue against proposed Care Center sale

Posted

Not that long ago, said Dr. Paul Salzberg, Sullivan County was praising the caregivers and administration at the Care Center at Sunset Lake. They’d worked hard, double shifts, through the pandemic, taking care of the county’s elderly and disabled. 

On Tuesday, Salzburg, who is the facility’s medical director, spoke his mind to a legislature that is contemplating selling the facility. 

“I’d feel like a traitor to the frail elderly who reside here,” not to protest the sale, he said. “Night and day, loving care is provided to [the] residents.” No matter their income. No matter their condition. He reminded listeners that one day, we might all need this facility.

That theme resounded through the hearing, which went on for a half-hour longer than it was supposed to. There were too many speakers and observers for the socially distant room, so they spilled outside, waiting for their turn. When a speaker finished, he or she left in order to make space for someone else. Even so, not everyone had a chance on Tuesday.

The public hearing was recessed to Thursday, July 16 at 3 p.m., giving people an additional 15 minutes. The vote on the proposed sale was scheduled to follow. 

At Tuesday’s hearing, Kathie Aberman from the Town of Liberty brought up people’s dismay and anger “that the county should put the care center up for sale... obviously their priority is profit.” She asked, “is this sale a way to create a slush fund for the county?” 

Speaking on behalf of the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation, Sandy Cuellar-Oxford expressed concerns about the hardships that a sale would create, especially for those who might have to travel long distances to spend time with a relative in long-term care. 

“This is a tragedy... we know this is about money,” said Sharon Peduto of Narrowsburg. The care center, she said, is “clean, the turnover is extremely low.” It should not be about money, it should be about people, she finished, to applause from listeners.

Priscilla Bassett pointed out that once sold, we can’t control what happens to the nursing home, the patients or the workers. “The negative impact of the sale to a private entity... outweighs the avoidance of a tax increase as threatened in the press release... There have been fiscal crises before and we have weathered them. Sullivan County deserves better than that. Vote no.”

The public hearing has been recessed to 3 p.m. on Thursday, to be potentially followed at 3:15 p.m. by a vote. 

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment