Saturday, March 12, 2011


After years of reports of a crumbling structure and physical risk to clients and staff, the State Health Department informs the public that Golden Hill is not falling down around our residents.
Yes, we have financial issues facing us. The facility is over 40 years old and has built-in deterrents to modernization upgrades, but that doesn't mean evacuation under emergency status is looming. 

While attending meetings in an office building atmosphere may be informative and convenient, I knew we would all read about it the next day. I however made the unexpected visit a few evenings ago and took some pictures. Although obviously dated, the place was maintained, clean and hardly distinguishable from other "For-Profit" facilities I've been in recently. 

I caught the 'Activities Team' [pictured above] still planning the next day's events in their small corner at the end of one hallway. All expressed their concerns about the future of Golden Hill while remaining focused on what they were going to do the next day to engage the residents.
While the speakers told the Legislature that “The residents are absolutely safe.” We cant help but reflect on the anomaly in health safety we experienced last year. Understanding that such a tragic loss like that could happen anywhere there are extended piping systems and non-flushed water lines doesn't shake the fact that Golden Hill is old, out dated and exposed to health risks. 
Still, I need only cross the river and visit some friends at Ferncliff Nursing Home to hear stories about their care. For fear of being sued, I wont repeat them here. 
It's a "For-Profit" facility that operates much the same way anything private is run. Minimal expense, minimal staff and ever increasing cost to the client. I wont talk about the "ClenliFactor" either.
Oddly, the state reimburses such facilities at a much higher rate per bed than they do County run facilities such as Golden Hill. Go figure.
A cynical person would suggest the private firms have a good lobby in Albany, pushing for the continued decrease in funding so as to push local government funded homes to the breaking point. I can see how someone would come to that conclusion. 

In recent months, I have heard numerous times how the Legislature knew Golden Hill was in a predicament for many years and didn't act when it could have cost a whole lot less than it does now. Why municipalities ALWAYS do this is beyond me. Both parties have had control of the Legislature during this time of inquiry. Now the choices are limited.
I lean toward building a new county run facility with a higher number of beds if possible. Close to the current building would be preferable. The future of the current building would be a fight for another time. 
The other option I am open to would be two smaller facilities with one located at the southern end of Ulster County. Either way, the county would have to negotiate a more equitable reimbursement policy with the state. 


Anonymous said...

With this movement across the country to privatize everything, I would have to agree with you that not everything is meant to be private.
Our healthcare, fire & police protection and infrastructure should be publicly funded. I cant imagine placing grandma in a place where the bottom dollar puts her at risk every day.
Build a new modern facility. Soon!

Anonymous said...

We need to keep Golden Hill open and county run. Private will cherry pick and our Ulster County residents deserve the best care we can provide them. Golden Hill may not look like Waldorf Astoria but it is the caring,kind, and dedicated staff and volunteers that make up for the older building that is NOT falling down around us.

Anonymous said...

I don't envy the 33 of you. For those who are fairly new to the Legislature, you've got 10 and 20 year veterans amongst you who have kicked the can down the road only to have the cost of all the options seem like budget busters.
This small fact must place stress between those who were there all this time and those who are 1,3 or 5 year Legislators.
In the end, their lack of action will cost the taxpayers much more because they failed to act. Renovate, build new or are faced with this choice because of those serving before you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your time and efforts, often our legislators sit back and make changes that effect many without ever getting out of their seats. Thank you again for checking GoldeHill out and forming your own view of what is REAL......The residents up on the hill are not numbers they are fathers,mothers, grandparents, our loved ones. We need everyone to work to keep it as is. Do what is right...inside of each of us we really know what that is....people not profits.

Anonymous said...

The usual suspects have their fingers in the pie again - a solution in search of a problem.