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Debate over nursing home costs

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Albany/HV: Debate over nursing home costs
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The public will soon have its say about what should be done with the Albany County nursing home. County Executive Dan McCoy is pushing a plan for privatization. But as YNN's Lori Chung reports, legislators say residents haven't been given all the facts.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- "We need vision. We need to have this done," said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy

McCoy is pushing a plan to privatize the county nursing home. He says it costs $400 a day to house each resident, most of whom rely on Medicaid.

"With the federal reimbursement rate, it comes out to $200 a day that we're losing for every senior that we have in our nursing home and right now, we have 217 seniors," McCoy said.

McCoy says that adds up to $1 million in losses each month. And he says his proposal to hand over the reins to Upstate Services Group is being blocked by the legislature and is planning a series of public hearings to let taxpayers have their say.

"They table eldercare. They table the contract the other night. They said they wanted to have a hearing in April," McCoy said. "The legislature needs to stop doing their stall tactics and make a decision."

McCoy says his plan will save $70 million over the next 10 years and help the county meet the two percent tax cap, but legislative majority leader Frank Commisso says legislators haven't been given any documentation showing the nursing home is operating that far in the red and says they’re taking their time to make sure the county's most vulnerable residents are protected.

Commisso said, "Yet again, the county exec has offered an incomplete analysis of the fiscal reality of Albany County Nursing Home. We are looking at every way possible to continue the service that we have had over the years with our senior population."

Those who want to weigh in on the future of the nursing home will get their chance next month when the first in series of public hearings gets underway on March 7th.

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