Here is the press release announcing the members of the local development corporation that will determine the future of Rockland County’s Summit Park Nursing Care Center:
(NEW CITY, NY) Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef and County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell today 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 and Cornell praised the high caliber individuals who have agreed to volunteer their time and expertise to serve as Directors of the newly formed LDC. 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. He serves on the Board of Directors of Volumetric Mutual Funds and the Rockland County Workman’s Compensation Consortium. He was a Past President of the Pearl River Chamber of Commerce.
·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. Medicaid currently provides health care insurance to approximately 75,000 Rocklanders. Commissioner Sherwood serves on Workforce Investment Board of Rockland County and the Board of the New York Public Welfare Association.
·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 2000 projects since 1991. He is the chairman of the Green Council for the Rockland Business Association and serves as the RBA Board of Directors. In 2011, the New York State Society of Professional Engineers recognized Michael as “Citizen of the Year” for his design work and for being and advocate for sustainable design.
·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. Steven is on the Executive Board of the Rockland Economic Development Corporation (REDC) and served as Chairman of REDC from 2009-2012.
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. Mrs. Zampolin is an accountant who had earlier worked for the firm of Renc & Fromm. She has held all Executive Board positions with both the New York State Association for School Business Officials and Rockland County School Business Officials. She is on the Board of Governors of the New York State Insurance Reciprocal and is Chair of Rockland County Workers’ Compensation Trust. A resident of Valley Cottage, she was Chair of Leadership Rockland for three years and currently serves on its Chairs Council.
·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. Mr. Kurland is a member of the New York State Bar Association and is presently a member of the Board of Directors of the Rockland County Bar Association.
·Magdalena Ramirez has over 30 years of progressive expertise in the rapidly evolving healthcare market. From 1989-2009 she served as Chief Executive Officer 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. She was instrumental in restructuring services and re-engineering delivery systems resulting in a self-supporting public hospital. Earlier, she was Assistant Director of Operations at New York Health and Hospital Corporation working on restructuring one of the nation’s largest public healthcare delivery organizations, followed by a position as Assistant Director with the NYS Department of Health’s Office of Health Systems Management. Ms. Ramirez has been in the forefront of national efforts to improve the funding and delivery of medical rehabilitation services to enable individuals to rebuild their lives. She is currently Vice-President of Membership Services for the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association in Washington, D.C.
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, with the residents receiving the same quality care that they always have. 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.
“It is critical to the financial health of Rockland County that we take steps to sell Summit Park Health Care Facility,” said Vanderhoef. “We simply cannot afford to continue operating it, when we have been running up annual multi-million dollar deficits. By creating an LDC, we satisfy the bond rating agencies that have urged us to come up with a plan for the facility. In addition, revenues from the sale will be used both to pay off existing Summit Park debt and to reduce the County deficit.”
Chairwoman Cornell said, “Given the explosion of our elderly population, at a rate far outpacing state and national averages, we will be seeing greater needs. Sadly, Rockland County does not have the financial resources to deal with infrastructure problems and the ever-increasing costs of staff at Summit Park. With state and federal reimbursements undependable at best, the burdensome costs are more than county taxpayers can bear. But I intend to convey to the LDC Board the importance of finding a purchaser which will continue the mission of our Nursing Care Center to provide quality care to all who need it.”
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.