LaDue: Valley View doing fine

After court ruling, nursing home's supporters want to keep the political pressure on

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  • Valley View nursing home (Photo by Joshua Rosenau)

Legislator Michael Anagnostakis told residents that they "should have nothing to worry about."

By Edie Johnson

— With newfound confidence that Valley View nursing home will remain in county hands, supporters met recently to hear an update on the facility and talk about ways to keep up the political pressure.

At their regular "Friends and Family" session, Valley View residents and other interested citizens met with Valley View Administrator Laurence LaDue and Orange County legislators Myrna Kemnitz and Mike Anagnostakis.

LaDue said things are going well at the home, which is maintaining a 95 percent occupancy rate. He said the home has a good relationship with local hospitals, especially Orange Regional Medical Center in Middletown.

He said he's made every attempt to meet the county executive's request for a 5 percent decrease in his proposed budget for the facility for this year and 10 percent for 2015. So far he has managed to reduce his budget by 9 percent without layoffs, he said. Already-empty positions that will not be filled are included in the reduction.

LaDue said he's waiting to hear from the recently formed New York State hospital "pool," which gives bonuses to nursing homes that maintain certain quality-of-care criteria. He expects about an extra $100,000 when the pool money comes in.

Valley View has budgeted for approximately 415 regular positions and 70 per diem positions. Being able to call upon a per diem staff greatly reduces overtime fees, he said.

Personnel costs are again down this year, LaDue said. He also expects a past due $2.34 million payment to come this week from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Legislator Michael Anagnostakis (R-New Windsor) suggested that the county consider selling the 120 additional unused acres that come with the facility. They could be sold to a group that wants to build senior citizen and assisted living units, which in turn could provide a continual supply of new residents.

Valley View is emerging from a very bumpy ride over the past several years. County Executive Steve Neuhaus and his predecessor, Edward Diana, made determined efforts to sell the nursing home, calling it a drain on the budget the county could not sustain. But the nursing home has great popular support. And two recent court rulings said the April transfer of the nursing home to a Local Development Corporation was illegal because the legislature did not have the supermajority vote needed to complete the transfer.

Anagnostakis told residents at the meeting that they "should have nothing to worry about."

"The lawsuit is done," he said.

Legislator Myrna Kemnitz (D-Monroe), a union member herself for many years, extolled the virtues hiring high-quality union staff, which she said has more commitment and greater skill.

Several participants suggested ongoing political action to keep it that way, and a better way to communicate with interested people about upcoming activities and news. A forum tentatively set for Sept. 2 will ask political candidates to state their position on the future of Valley View.

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