Did Neuhaus campaign on Valley View transfer?

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  • Steve Neuhaus campaigning at Satin Fine Foods in Chester last year.

What Neuhaus said

Fall campaign 2013:
From poster passed to senior citizens: “Steve Neuhaus has a real plan to keep Valley View open. 1. Support the new management at Valley View. 2. Continue efforts to restructure purchasing agreements, including joint purchasing agreements with other county-owned nursing homes. 3. Negotiate a new partnership with the unions to save money, reduce overtime and allow for more efficient care of patients. 4. Negotiate with Albany to ensure that Valley View is reimbursed at the same rate as private nursing homes for care of indigent patients. 4. Stop the bickering and partisanship and put our senior citizens first. Ensure our seniors always have a place to live — period! Steve Neuhaus supports keeping Valley View open.”
Oct. 4, 2013: “Give and Take,” The Chronicle: “The hiring of a new administrator made progress but the facility’s problems are multi-faceted, including a major problem with the inequity that public facilities receive only a fraction of Medicare reimbursements as do private facilities. We need to send our representatives to Albany to lobby for change so that reparations are fair, dollar for dollar.”
Nov. 1, 2013: “County executive candidates on the issues,” The Chronicle: “Valley View nursing home. We are going to keep it open – period. No compromises. I am in a position to actually negotiate a fair contract — fair not only to the workers but to the taxpayers of Orange County.”
Feb. 27, 2014: “Neuhaus vows to keep Valley View open,” The Chronicle: “The county executive will maintain his pledge to seniors and the taxpayers of Orange County by keeping Valley View open, period. Partisan political attacks notwithstanding, the county legislature must ultimately decide who will operate the nursing home,and he will continue to emphasize that this operator provide the highest quality patient care in a safe environment.”
March 21, 2014: “Neuhaus moves fast toward Valley View sale,” The Chronicle: “Drastic action” and “difficult decisions have to be made.”
April 4, 2014: “Neuhaus: Union concessions key to saving nursing home,” The Chronicle: “Year after year, the CSEA has promised concessions that have never materialized,” he said. “The LDC is not to privatize (Valley View) but to use as a vehicle to get concessions that we’ve been promised over two years.”
April 4, 2014: “We can keep Valley View open,” The Chronicle: “An LDC is not a path to closure. Transferring management to a Local Development Corporation could keep it publicly run, like in Lewis County, or privately administrated. Either way, however, a Local Development Corporation is a means to keep a nursing home open and caring for patients, as it has in the case of Ulster County.”
April 12, 2014: “Legislature was responsible on Valley View,” The Chronicle: “I stated during my campaign that I would seek to transfer Valley View to a local development corporation because I believe it is a way we can keep Valley View open and provide care to seniors for years to come.”

— Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus was pleased with the legislature's decision last week to transfer Valley View nursing home to a local development corporation (LDC), the first step toward selling the facility to a private buyer.

In a statement released after the vote, he said, "I stated during my campaign that I would seek to transfer Valley View to a local development corporation because I believe it is a way we can keep Valley View open and provide care to seniors for years to come."

But county residents were blind-sided by his announcement in March that he would transfer the nursing home to an LDC. More than 600 residents turned out for the April 4 public hearing on the LDC idea, with many speakers accusing Neuhaus of breaking a campaign promise.

Did Neuhaus advocate the LDC transfer during his campaign? His spokesperson, Dain Pascocello, says he did — in another newspaper back in October.

Candidate Neuhaus stressed making Valley View more efficient and economical by negotiating with the union and fighting Albany for better Medicare reimbursements. But he gave up the fight — if there ever was one — less than two months into his administration. He moved at breakneck speed to put the LDC idea to a vote by the legislature, bypassing the legislative committee that oversees Valley View. Its chair, Republican Michael Anagnostakis, called this move "a mockery of the legislative process."

Much confusion stems from Neuhaus' oft-repeated promise, which he continues to make, that the nursing home will stay open. When he made the promise during his campaign, people assumed the nursing home would stay under county control. Otherwise, how could the county guarantee that another owner will keep it open, not to mention as well-run and affordable as it is now?

All this remains to be seen.

See timeline for Neuhaus' statements about the future of Valley View.

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