Editorial: Time for talk, time for action

If there’s one thing that’s for certain when it comes to the Albany County Nursing Home, it’s that there’s an awful lot of disagreement when it comes to its future.

That much is clear from Alyssa Jung’s report on Albany County Executive Dan McCoy’s efforts to cement a course forward on the nursing home issue. We came away from our discussions with Mr. McCoy with the impression he is quite serious about finding a resolution to the situation this year, and whatever you think about the options on the table it’s vital county leaders make a decision.

This is not only for the benefit of seniors who already rely on the home, their families or the people who work there, all of whom have been held in suspense for years now, but also for the taxpayer. If the county is going to lay out the kind of money it takes to stay in the nursing home business, it needs to start planning (and cutting) now.

Building a new nursing home would be a $71 million project, a large portion of which the county would borrow for at 4 percent interest. Then, after it’s built, it’s going to cost $50 million a year to run, less than half of which will be reimbursed by Medicaid and the like. So, according to the Department of Health’s records, the new nursing home would be about $26.4 million in the hole every single year.

Those are incredible numbers, and apparently 24 of the county’s 39 legislators think they’re just dandy. They voted earlier this month to press ahead with the project. Then again, this is the Legislature that last year passed a budget with a 9 percent tax hike and hailed it as an honest-to-goodness victory for the people, so take that as you will.

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