I am appalled at what I’m witnessing

To the Editor:

Nursing-home needs are secondary to political needs.

It is a straightforward matter made difficult and controversial by politicians.

Managing and overseeing the Albany County Nursing Home has become so mired in political infighting among the Democrat majority that the needs of facility residents and county taxpayers are being overlooked.

Knowing the county could no longer manage its nursing home efficiently, the county executive proposed to have Upstate Services Group oversee its operation. Not to be outdone, members of his own party in the Albany County Legislature came up with an alternative solution, the formation of an Local Development Corporation to oversee the home.

So began the saga of infighting for power and control among Albany County Democrats.

While political bickering continues and political muscles are flexed, taxpayers are losing approximately $1 million a month operating and maintaining this facility.

As a nursing professional and an Albany County legislator serving on the Special Committee for Elder Care, I am appalled at what I’m witnessing.

This month, a resolution was passed in the county legislature to create the LDC previously mentioned. It was so lacking in specifics, I cannot believe it passed, with only some members of the minority conference questioning the proposal.

In my opinion, it did not even spell out the expectations of the LDC or meet the prerequisites for one.

Supposedly, the initial intent of the LDC was to relieve the county of the gross financial debt caused by the current mismanagement of the nursing home. We were told the fiscal burden associated with the home would be virtually eliminated through the LDC.

However, I believe the resolution that was passed will guarantee that county taxpayers assume all financial debt associated with this facility, and nursing home residents will be no better off.

I feel a deep-seated responsibility to provide care for the sick and elderly.  Albany County has run the nursing home for years, accruing staggering deficits being paid with tax dollars.  Further, because of the nursing home’s financial drain, other social service programs, especially those for our senior citizens, have had to be reduced or eliminated.

The Albany County Democrats should be ashamed of placing their own need for political power over the well being of the elderly and taxpayers.  To make this whole scenario even worse, I do not foresee a solution to the nursing home issue in the near future.

Deborah Busch, legislator
39th District
Albany County

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