Nursing home fights state budget cuts

NORTH CREEK - With the 2008-2009 New York State budget cycle rapidly approaching, concerns over a $300 million decrease in long term care expenditures have a local facility reacting. Under the leadership of Gov. David Paterson, the state is attempting to mitigate the economic effects of what the Division of the Budget is now calling a recession. This week, Carl Young, president of the New York Association of Homes & Services for the Aging, issued a warning to nursing facilities, imploring them to mobilize whatever resources they could to counter the proposed budget cuts. "Over the next three weeks, the legislature will be negotiating the 2008-2009 State Budget," Young said. "The senate and assembly one-house budget bills would not restore all of the proposed cuts aimed at nursing homes, home care agencies and managed long term care programs. If we are to get the over $300 million in long term care cuts restored, it is critical that we all keep pressure on our legislative representatives." Long term care facility staff, New York State businesses and government leaders are invited to join NYAHSA's 21-Day Budget Countdown Advocacy Campaign. The campaign is a grassroots lobbying effort aimed at alerting state government to the hardship that additional budget cuts would inflict on the quality of care for the state s elderly and disabled citizens. Adirondack Tri County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Administrator, David Lovelace, has been following the issue from the beginning and hopes to rally local businesses, community leaders, and government representatives behind their cause. ATCNRC has been working for several years to resolve its historical financial losses, including recent negotiations with the Service Employees International Union, in the hopes of easing excessive financial burdens on the facility. The recent budget cut proposals further weaken its already tenuous financial position, and threatens the 123 jobs the facility provides to the community. "Currently, 62 of our 82 total residents have Medicaid as their sole funding source," Lovelace says. "ATCNRC Medicaid reimbursements already fall short of expenses $20 per day. Simple math reveals a $1,200 per day shortfall just at the current levels." While Lovelace remains concerned with budgetary restraints, its the quality of care for the facility's residents that drives his passion for a resolution. "The staff at ATCNRC creates on a daily basis, a wonderful culture of caring and commitment to the residents and members of the community. We care about the residents and its why we are here." As New York States new governor works to resolve the issue, he remains cognizant of the reality the state faces in achieving its financial goals. "New York is facing a fiscal challenge that we have not seen since the dark days following September 11, and our state budget must reflect that reality," Governor Paterson said in a recent press release. "Given the rapidly deteriorating economic climate, we must join together in the spirit of cooperation to reduce state spending and produce a balanced budget for the people of New York. Like the thousands of New York families facing difficult financial circumstances, we too must live within our means."

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