Very shortly now many of you will face the biggest decision of your political lives. It will be a decision that will have the most long lasting and far reaching impact on almost every family in Essex County as today's population ages out and requires nursing home care. It is no secret that Essex County's residents do not have the same financial abilities as other NYS residents, and therefore, the majority of us and even if you don't realize it, probably each of you as well, will not have the retirement income or assets, unless you are independently wealthy, (and then lucky you) to pay for nursing home care without benefit of Medicaid. As you all know I understand that the census at Horace Nye Home most of the time runs over 90% Medicaid eligible folks to fill those 100 beds.
Therefore if you are preparing to sell Horace Nye to fix your escalating tax costs that you are saying indicates the nursing home contributes to, correspondingly, shouldn't you be prepared to answer the question and have a solution to where are you going to put the other Medicaid eligible folks that the other two private nursing homes and the new private nursing home in Essex County do not take.? Where will these folks get the care they need? Will they languish in the hospital at higher than normal costs to the county waiting for a nursing home bed? Will they be sent out of Essex County, or worse yet, out of state? How will many of you face your voting constituents when that happens? My father's monthly retirement income is higher than most and yet, he is still eligible for Medicaid because of the high cost of nursing home care. Our family has been so fortunate that he has received the quality care that any family could want for their loved one at Horace Nye and it is only 16 miles from our home. My father, Harris Young, is a World War II Veteran and was a NYS Veteran Counselor for 25 years serving more veterans in this county than I could count from 1956 to 1981. Doesn't he deserve to have a safe and caring environment close to home?
Is our generation and its politicians going to be known as the generation who disregarded the needs of our elderly for end of life nursing home care, our children for education and our military veterans for the services many so desperately need after they have put their lives on the line for our freedom both personal and political? You know that studies have been done as directed by you yourselves and suggestions made as a result of those studies on how to save money at Horace Nye, and I don't mean by feeding the residents prison prepared food. Ask yourself, why did none of you follow up on those suggestions? Why can you only see one solution, one that never can be reversed.
If you all vote to sell the Nursing home can we expect that the county salaries of every Essex County Supervisor and the County Manager will decrease by the proportion of the no longer present Horace Nye Budget since it will no longer be a concern to you or part of your responsibility that you get paid for overseeing? Who among you will stand and make a motion to reduce those salaries I mention if you obliterate our County Nursing Home out of existence? Who will second the motion and who will vote yes to decrease those salaries?
Before you vote, each one of you should take your responsibility very seriously and research every facility owned by those offering to buy. Some of you have never even set foot in Horace Nye and talked with the staff or residents or made contact with their families. You should go and talk with staff, residents and family of HNH and of the nursing homes owned by the groups offering to buy HNH. Only then can you make an informed decision of what you are getting Essex County into with your vote. Without that research, you are taking the easy way out, and it can never be reversed. That is the scary part. Will you be one of the Supervisors who take the easy way out, or will you be able to stand and say with your vote, "I vote yea or nay and I did go to the following facilities and talked to this many people (residents, family members and staff) and I am basing my decision on my conclusions drawn from those visits and not some of your conclusions that this sale is in the best interest of Essex County. Will you see some of the votes to sell for what they are, from Supervisors who don't care about the rest of the county because they have a nursing home in their own town or in close proximity? Some of you are new to the political scene all together. Do you want your first term to be known as a term that ignored the needs of elderly, Medicaid-eligible, Senior Citizens? You do realize that a sale of Horace Nye is not going to get rid of many of the expenses that you all are lamenting such as the benefit costs of HNH retirees, unemployment costs, disability costs, and all those Medicaid eligible folks who have yet to come into the system and will need beds and won't find them here in Essex County because private nursing homes support just so many Medicaid-eligible admitted.
I hope that none of you ever have to face the heartbreaking concern about what to do with a parent who requires long-term nursing home care but their own resources are not sufficient to cover the costs for private pay and their family find themselves unable to secure a nursing home bed because all they have to pay for one is Medicaid. If you get rid of Horace Nye Home, a county-operated facility, the long-range results won't be pretty.
I understand that many of you have chosen not to respond to the e-mails and letters that have been sent to you on this subject. God Bless those who have responded and have demonstrated how seriously they take their responsibilities as they are there to "answer to the people" because as a Supervisor at the County you not only represent your individual Town, but you represent me because my tax dollars pay for your county salary and that is one place I want to be taken seriously.
A vote to sell Horace Nye will have more far reaching implications down the road than you can even imagine right now. Do you have the answers or solutions to the problems it raises? If you don't, please don't vote to sell. Make all County Supervisors go back to the study and start taking some of the suggestions made by a study that you all paid for.
Barbara Ann (Young) Paye,