FROM ROCKLAND COUNTY GOVERNMENT
Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef and County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell this week announced the names of seven members of the newly formed “Rockland County Health Facilities Corporation,” a Local Development Corporation (LDC) formed by Rockland County for the purpose of lessening the fiscal burdens of government with respect to the operation of the County’s 321-bed Summit Park Nursing Care Center located in Pomona, NY.
In April, the County created a Local Development Corporation or LDC for the purpose of selling the Summit Park Nursing Care Center. Using an LDC is seen as a more efficient way to sell a government-run hospital. Other counties in New York State have encountered difficulties in closing nursing home sale transactions on their own because potential bidders perceive the many layers of legislative approval as an increased risk.
The recent legislation creating the LDC authorizes a transfer of the assets of Summit Park. The Rockland County Health Facilities Corporation will be governed by seven unpaid voting directors, four of whom have been appointed by the County Executive and three will be appointed on July 23 at a Special Meeting of the County Legislature.
Vanderhoef’s nominees include the following:
·Raymond W. Sheridan, a resident of Orangeburg, is President of Raymond Sheridan Financial Inc., an independent insurance agency in Pearl River.
Mr. Sheridan is currently a Broker with Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service.
·Susan Sherwood, a resident of Stony Point, is serving in her second term as Rockland County Commissioner of Social Services. As commissioner
of Social Services, she is responsible for overseeing administration of the Medicaid program in Rockland.
·Michael Shilale, a resident of New City, has been an architect for over 25 years and LEED accredited since 2004. Michael Shilale Architects, LLP has successfully completed over 2,000 projects since 1991. He is the chairman of the Green Council for the Rockland Business Association and serves as the RBA Board of Directors.
·Steven Yassky, a resident of Upper Nyack, has been associated with his family’s business, Rockland Realty, and has been a Realtor since 1985. He became a broker in 1991 as well as principal of the company. Mr. Yassky is the exclusive broker for Airport Executive Park an office/warehouse park and Thruway Plaza Shopping Center.
The County Legislature’s nominees include:
·Roberta R. Zampolin was superintendent of Nyack Schools for nine years, following 25 years serving the school district as business administrator and assistant superintendent for Business/Personnel. She retired in 2005.
·Adam Keith Kurland, Esq. is a native of Rockland and a practicing attorney since 1994. He is a partner in the New City law firm of Fenster & Kurland LLP, specializing in commercial law, litigation, real estate and zoning law.
·Magdalena Ramirez has over 30 years of progressive expertise in the rapidly evolving healthcare market. From 1989-2009 she served as CEO of Helen Hayes Hospital, the largest and most comprehensive physical rehabilitation hospital in New York State, and instituted major innovations in spinal cord and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation programs, sub-acute rehabilitation and community wellness.
Vanderhoef and Cornell noted that the LDC is expected to work towards the eventual sale of the Summit Park Nursing Care Center. Both officials stressed that the proposed sale is expected to take between 12 to 18 months, and during that time the operation of the facility will remain unchanged. After a sale is completed, a private operator’s ability to discharge a resident will be severely limited by state regulations prohibiting unsafe discharges. Until any sale is
finalized, employees at Summit Park will also continue to be employed by the county under their current union contract.
Vanderhoef noted that Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center has been running up multi-million dollar deficits for several years. Approximately 15
percent of every homeowner’s average County property tax bill goes to keeping the hospital and nursing home open. The operating deficit in future years is projected to grow larger due to increasing contributions to the state pension system and decreasing Medicaid reimbursement for nursing home care.
According to the New York State Association of Counties, seven New York counties have recently sold, merged or transferred ownership of their nursing homes. Many more have already gotten out of the business or are considering doing so. Many experts believe the publicly owned nursing home model is no longer financially sustainable. Reimbursement rates set at the state and federal levels do not come close to keeping up with escalating expenses that are mandatory, including state pension costs and other increasing personnel costs that are tied to union contracts and by state law cannot be unilaterally changed.