Albany County lawmakers are planning to introduce to County Executive Mike Breslin’s long-term health-care plan an amendment that would include the construction of a nursing home campus with several facilities in the portion of Heritage Park that was purchased by the county last year.
Breslin’s plan currently does not include the construction of a nursing home to replace the Albany County Nursing Home a facility that was opened in 1974 and is in need of costly updates. He is proposing to eventually phase out the nursing home, moving residents to other, private, nursing homes and replacing the county’s nursing home beds with assisted living beds. Breslin’s plan also includes many stay-at-home initiatives, which he said is intended to keep seniors living in their homes longer.
According to a draft of the amendment, which is being sponsored by Majority Leader Frank Commisso, D-Albany, the Special Nursing Home Facilities Committee, a panel studying the nursing home and long-term care plans, embraces the stay-at-home concepts outlined in Breslin’s plan, but would like it to be expanded to include the construction of a nursing home at Heritage Park.
According to the draft, We continue to be of the opinion that long-term care in Albany County needs to include the replacement of the nursing home and want to have it included in the plan for future long-term care preparation.`
Commisso said Breslin’s plan doesn’t do enough to cover the needs of those who take advantage of long-term care.
`His plan lacks,` Commisso said. `It’s a shallow plan.`
Commisso said his main concern was for the current residents of the county nursing home.
`If we take and close down our nursing home, there’s 231 people left out there,` he said. `Who’s going to pick them up? It’s not something you can just pull the plug on.`
According to Commisso, the county has `a moral obligation to the people of Albany County` who use the current nursing home, and he and others were led to believe that a new nursing home would be a part of the county executive’s plan.
In response to the committee’s amendment, Breslin said, `The members of the Legislature and I agree that we need to expand the choices available for those needing long-term care. I look forward to working together with the County Legislature over the next few weeks to develop a solution that serves our residents in need and is the least expensive for county property taxpayers.`
Commisso said the committee is not simply looking for a new nursing home to be built, but instead, a campus that will include facilities that will help people through every stage of their elderly lives.
`What we envision is a long-term health care campus,` said Albany County Legislator Gary Domalewicz, D-Albany, also a committee member.
Domalewicz said that this facility, once constructed, would be able to help the county’s most needy residents receive the quality care they deserve.
`We believe that we need to have a nursing home so that we can take care of the most needy of our county, the elderly of Albany County who don’t have the money and have no place to go,` he said. `[We need] to continue providing the best care possible for all the people of Albany County.`
The amendment, which will include the nursing home campus, will be introduced and voted on along with Breslin’s plan on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the County Legislature’s meeting.“