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Horace Nye employees, others protest potential sale

Plans to protest in every town in the county

Lori Harter, a CNA at Horace Nye Nursing home, protests the privatization of Horace Nye nursing home alongside fellow nurses and community members Feb. 27 in Elizabethtown.

Lori Harter, a CNA at Horace Nye Nursing home, protests the privatization of Horace Nye nursing home alongside fellow nurses and community members Feb. 27 in Elizabethtown. Photo by Katherine Clark.

— Horace Nye staff members, residents’ family members and friends along with community members protested on Court Street Monday, Feb. 27 to keep Horace Nye a public nursing home under the control of Essex County.

“We are not nurses for profit, and this home shouldn’t be for profit,” Celeste Beeman said.

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Community members picket for keeping Horace Nye Nursing home public on Monday in Elizabethtown.

Beeman, who has been a Certified Nurses Assistant at Horace Nye for 24 years, stood out on Court Street after working a full shift at Horace Nye. Holding signs alongside Beeman was a group of 40 nurses and community members asking the passing drivers on Rte. 9 to “Honk for Horace.”

Beeman said the group plans to protest in every town in the county to get the community behind them to keep Horace Nye a county-owned nursing home.

Horace Nye is currently the only public nursing home in Essex County. Beeman said it accepts every patient who needs medical service regardless of it they can pay for services or not.

“A private home won’t have a place for patients with medicare, this is a safety net for everyone in the community,” Beeman said.

To keep Horace Nye running, it costs tax payers about 10 cents a day. To keep someone in a privatized nursing home, it costs about $108,000 a year, said Shirley Reynolds, a CNA at Horace Nye.

“It’s not fair to the residents, they were taxpayers at one time and it’s time we take care of them,” Reynolds said.

Daniel Palmer, Essex County Manager, said to keep the nursing home in operation it cost $1.9 million in 2011, and the cost generally increases $500,000 to 700,000 a year.

On March 7, the Board of Supervisors will review the bids submitted by private companies. If the board feels a bid submitted is sufficient, the bid will then need to be approved by New York State Department of Health.

“It’s still a lengthy process but we should know in the next month or two if we’ll be going through with a sale,” Palmer said.

The protesters will be picketing in the Town of Jay on Wednesday, Feb. 29 and will be in Ticonderoga on Saturday March 3.

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