Roughly an hour ago, Essex County supervisors voted to sell the Horace Nye nursing home, a move that sparked disappointment and anger among workers at the facility, and with some residents.
Supporters of the sale needed two-thirds of the supervisors to back the plan, and they succeeded by a one-vote margin.
Randy Douglas, the Democratic chair of the board of supervisors, told the audience that officials had thoroughly reviewed the for-profit company that will now own the facility, Specialty Care of New York City.
He also argued that annual deficits at Horace Nye of between $2 and $3 million were unsustainable.
Backers of the move said that they had researched the new company thoroughly, determining that Medicaid patients would still be accepted, and that the quality of care would be maintained long-term.
Specialty care will pay just over $4 million for the home, and roughly 3.2 acres of land in Elizabethtown.
Critics of the move questioned whether poor residents of the county would still be welcome at Horace Nye, if Federal and state reimbursement rates for the care of low-income residents continues to lag.
They also raised concerns about wages and benefits for the 135 employees.
Tuesday’s sale came one day after Adirondack Health, a non-profit based in Saranac Lake, announced that it would eliminate roughly sixty beds from the Uihlein nursing home in Lake Placid over the next 12-24 months.
CEO Chandler Ralph cited low Medicaid reimbursements as a key reason for the decision.
In recent years, counties in the North Country have scrambled to get out of the senior and nursing-home care business, citing rising costs and the 2% state property tax cap that has squeezed their budgets.
Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties are all considering selling nursing homes. Fulton County just sold a home in Gloversville to the same firm that purchased Horace Nye.
Last year, Clinton County voted to sell its home care program for senior citizens and Franklin County is currently preparing to merge its nursing home with the Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone.