Thursday, October 21, 2010


Only a few days ago the Freeman ran a piece on the impending report regarding the Golden Hill Nursing Home. Reporter Patricia Doxsey mentioned the 100 plus supporters of the facility that crowded the 6th floor chamber of the Legislature. It was a repeat performance of the meeting attendance prior.

The Legislature is facing a fairly neglected facility and a short list of achievable options to either save the structure or walk away from County run Nursing Care all-together.

The county taxpayers subsidized the operation with 1% of the annual budget. Leaving the fiscal mark on the budget fairly negligible. So the cost to the taxpayers to maintain nursing care at Golden Hill is not the issue. What is a concern is the outdated structure and the requirements by the state to keep it operational.Those will be some significant dollars.

Additionally, in many instances, the building does not meet health codes, lacking handicapped accessible toilet rooms and resident exam/treatment rooms. What is ironic is the anemic funding the county gets from the state pretty much amplifies the problems we face today.

The article pointed out: In August, the county issued a request for proposals for “alternatives to the operation of the Golden Hill Health Care Center, including, but not limited to, enhanced services partnerships and/or acquisition.”

Walter Frey (R Saugerties) was quoted: “It’s worse than what I thought. I couldn’t believe the county Legislature hasn’t done the capital projects,”  He went on to say that, since 1998, the county has made only minor capital improvements at Golden Hill, including the installation of a $117,000 copper silver ionization system after two residents contracted Legionnaire’s disease.

In an emailed response to Ms Doxsey, Robert Parete said:
I'd like to clarify a statement made by Walter Frey.  Since 1998, Ulster County has spent over $5 Million in capital projects and improvements at the facility.  Here is a list of improvements.

1998 Water Waste Screen Project $49K 0206-96
1998 Kitchen Renovation/Dishroom Expansion  $1.55M 0214-98
2002 Facility Roof Replacement $1.7M 02530-02
2002/2003 Entrance Walkway $53K
2004 Emergency Egress $150K
2004 Heat Exchanger Replacement $150K
2004 Chiller Replacement $90K
2005 Sanitary Sewer Main Repair $1M 0277-05
2006 Central Elevator $110K
2008/2009 Cooling Tower $99K
2010 Copper Silver Ionization System $105K

As it turns out, much more has been spent in maintenance at Golden Hill than was reported and maybe just overlooked by the current Health Committee Chairman. Who knows really, but it doesn't change the fact that although it doesn't amount to complete renovation status, work has been done to maintain the facility.

Incidentally, the League of Women Voters decided to address the Legislature before our monthly meeting just this past Tuesday and informed us of their conclusion to divest ourselves of the Nursing business...knowing full well that a Blue Ribbon panel is coming in with their final report next month. Their reasoning for the pre-emptive announcement..."Well, we've been working on this for four years so we're going first." Nice.

 A comment on FreemanOnline summed it up best when they said: "One of the reasons Golden Hill is in a deficit is because they are reimbursed by the State in 1983 dollars. If a new facility is built, it will be reimbursed in current dollars." Very few people outside of the committee knew this. Almost all of the funding provided by the County for either renovations or new construction would be refunded by the state. Amazing tidbit of information.

Another person said: "The $3 million that the County subsidizes the shortfall only costs the average property tax payer about $10 for the whole year, less than a dollar a month. Private nursing homes are FOR PROFIT first, care is MAYBE second. They get to hand pick most of their residents, so the ones with the most $$$ or require the least care is who gets picked first. They only have to take a small percentage of the rest. Golden Hill excepts everyone and care comes first."

Most of us who are up close and engaged in the funding and level of care at Golden Hill, know the options are limited, but worthy of review. the LWV should have waited until the commission was done. End of story.


Anonymous said...

Golden Hill has provided quality services for "usually politically selected" residents at no direct costs to their families who got to keep their assets. The service part has been great - the politics screwed most taxpayers of our County.

Anonymous said...

The politics screws people left and right--that is not the issue. The issue is, just as Mike has expressed it, whether to provide care first for nursing home residents as opposed to the maybe care they might receive in a private nursing home. That's the reality and ask yourself if you want yourself or a loved one to undergo the private or public option. It's a no brainer.
Furthermore, most folks are going to be eligible for nursing home care in the not too distant future. As such talk about the demographics and politics of that. Yowsa!
Great job, Mike. You almost make up for the fact that most people must rely on Ira Fussyfeld's disaster of a rag to tell the complete story--and sometimes ANY story.

Anonymous said...

Word is that Stevie Aaron wants to buy it. Is this why he has Hector on the payroll?

Mike Madsen said...

Don't ever expect me to vote in favor of Steve Aaron getting anything from the county.

Anonymous said...

Didn't you let Steve off the hook for $ 50K when you were a City Alderman?

Mike Madsen said...

I recently made mention of a few mistakes we made while I was on the Council. Mistakes regarding Steve Aaron, RUPCO and others regarding the development of lands around Kingston.
I consider a few of them as tough lessons learned.
Thanks for reminding us.

Anonymous said...

Do my eyes deceive me? Is this really the first time I see an elected official say they made a mistake? Learned from it?
Somebody wake me.

Bravo to you Mr Madsen, Bravo to you.

Walter Frey said...

Mike your comment are wrong! What I said we have not spent much on maintaining Golden Hill! For a facility that is 41 years old the amount spent is not a lot! Most where basic maintenance upkeep! That is why we must 40 to 60 million to repair the building! I state once again have we spent the money needed to maintain the building! The answer is NO! The numbers you used are the numbers I collected. I knew what I was saying. I also ask you to go thru and look at past capital project request! And you will see why I came up with my opinion. This is also backed by professional that gave us there expert advice!

Walter Frey

Anonymous said...

Golden Hill is run down but the service, compassion, care that comes from within those walls to the people that live there is richer than all the money in the world. Golden Hill is a much needed nursing home and we all must work together in supporting the need to save it! WE MUST NOT LET STEVE AARON near that facility for he will destroy the richness of the quality care and compassion that makes it a home for our elder loved ones. Before allowing him to even be considered try asking us who live in his complex's how terrified we are when he steps foot on the property! He does not care for us just raising our rents and taking away the ammenities he claimed to give us when he convinced us to move in!