By Rockland County Executive Ed Day
As many of you already know, the herculean task of transferring ownership of Summit Park entered its final stages this month. On Thursday, August 6th, the New York State Department of Health’s Public Health and Health Planning Council approved the two certificates of need required to accomplish the transfer. Now that Sympaticare’s licenses have been approved for both the hospital and the nursing care center, the Rockland County Health Facilities Corporation (the LDC) is free to move forward with the Purchase and Sale Agreement, placing the facility in new hands.
The LDC has set a firm date of September 30th for the transition of Summit Park to Sympaticare. Meeting this date is a necessity rather than an option in order to (1) synch with my October 1st budget submission to the Legislature (2) meet the dates in the master Purchase and Sale Agreement (3) avoid three months of additional losses this Fall, and (4) provide for a seamless transition to the purchaser.
In the days ahead, the buyer will look to satisfy state regulators by completing a list of tasks that must be performed before a new operating certificate can be issued. Separately, the LDC and the County will complete the legal and business exchanges in the transaction according to the terms of the original contract. A lengthy list of operational transition tasks will be also be executed: personnel interviews will be conducted, supply and service contracts must be transferred and notifications will be made to diverse constituencies, including Summit Park’s clinical and business partners. We’ve got a lot to do in order to maintain continuity of patient and resident care, while also orienting Sympaticare and helping them to a successful launch.
In simple terms, we’re on “final approach.” We will not circle the airport. We will not postpone the transition date. Once we notify our patients, reallocate staff and cancel contracts, the buyer must be ready to take possession and move ahead.
For now, county-run operations at both the hospital and nursing home remain at full throttle. Inside the facility, our dedicated team of physicians, nurses, technicians, physical therapists, nutritionists, pharmacists, social workers and others are providing the highest level of care to short-time patients and long-time residents. We continue to make a significant investment in quality on a day-to-day basis from the top down.
There likely will be some displacement of employees during this transition process. Please know that I am extremely sensitive to the anxiety the prospect of such change is causing staff. I’ve directed our Personnel Department to work closely with the purchaser to preserve dozens of positions. We know Sympaticare wants a seamless transition. Operations at the facility will continue on October first, with existing staff needed to care for patients and residents. Summit Park has a phenomenal team of people, and we’re working to do everything we can to safeguard jobs and retain the culture we’ve built.
The ultimate sale of Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center remains a critical element in the county’s economic turnaround. I offer great thanks to LDC Chairwoman Sue Sherwood, along with Deputy County Executive Guillermo Rosa, Deputy Commissioner of Hospitals Dr. David Freed and our County Attorney Thomas Humbach, for their tireless efforts to finalize this extremely complex transaction.