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County home health care closer to privatization

People protesting the privatization of home health care in Clinton County filled the legislative chamber at the Sept. 14 meeting.

People protesting the privatization of home health care in Clinton County filled the legislative chamber at the Sept. 14 meeting. Photo by John Grybos.

— Home health care in Clinton County is one step closer to privatization after the county legislators voted yes to resolution 639 Sept. 14.

The legislative chambers were standing-room only as county home health care providers and CSEA members and officials stood along walls and sat on stairs to be present for the vote.

Despite the five-minute time limit on addresses to the legislature, public comment lasted an hour as people tried to make one last impression before legislators cast their votes.

“It’s the toughest decision I’ve had to make in 14 years on this board,” said Keith Defayette.

Most public comment called for the legislature to work together with home health care services to remediate problems and bring costs in line with county expectations.

“We voted yes for you,” said county nurse Jill Parent to her elected officials, “You need to vote yes for us.

The sole vote in opposition of selling home health care services to Home Health Care of Rochester was Sam Trombley.

“I pledged that I would never turn you down or sell you short,” said Trombley.

Amy Alexander brought her infant son, Marcus, to the meeting. Marcus has had severe health issues since he was born, and the only reason he can be at home with his mother is because of the county’s home health services.

Without care at home, Marcus would need to live in a nursing home. The company up for the county home health license isn’t certified for pediatric care. The closest nursing home for children Alexander could find was in New York City.

In a written statement read by Jill Parent as Alexander tended to her colicky child, Alexander told the legislature that she hopes they remember her son’s face, because if he must live in a nursing home, she’ll have to stay locally to take care of her other children.

“I won’t be able to see his face, and he won’t be able to see mine,” she wrote.

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