Future Possibilities For Willow Point Nursing Home

By Kelly McCarthy

September 28, 2012 Updated Oct 1, 2012 at 11:31 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Questions remain on what will happen to Willow Point Nursing home.

It's currently run by Broome County, but perhaps not for long after results from a Sell and Lease task force committee came back undecided.

After hearing about a Facebook page created by a viewer to save the Willow Point Nursing Department.

Action News looked into the 2013 proposed Broome County budget to see what's really in store for the employees at Willow Point.

The Facebook pages has close to 200 members to increase awareness that the budget proposal includes privatizing the rehab department at Willow Point Nursing Home.

That would bring in an outside company to handle the patients and services, leaving the 11 employees in the rehab department without a guaranteed job.

"This is going to be one of the hardest decisions I'm ever going to have to make as an elected official," said (R) Broome County Legislator Jerry Marinich.

Tough decisions to be made on the future of the Willow Point Nursing Home.

After a Sell and Lease Task Force Committee could not agree on recommendations for the nursing home.

"Maybe the county shouldn't manage it, maybe the county shouldn't own it, maybe the county should build a brand new one, so there's a whole bunch of ideas being floated, none of which we've really spent much time focusing on," said (R) Deputy Broome County Executive John Bernardo.

Included in the 2013 Budget Proposal is an elimination of the 11 full-time employees currently working in the Rehab Department.

Suggesting the county is trying to privatize that division.

"I'm at a loss, I'm not sure why this is taking place, we found out about it about an hour before the budget presentation," said JoAnn Mastronardi, C.S.E.A. Labor Relations Specialist in Broome County.

"It would be strongly urged whoever does do that service, that they take on the employees that are working there, that's only if we went that way the decision hasn't been made by the legislature," said Marinich.

Until the County Legislators approve the budget, C.S.E.A. is trying to keep the department within the county.

"We can always work smarter, we can look at scheduling, staffing levels, there are a lot of things we can do with the current staff that we've never been given the opportunity to do," said Mastronardi.

"We're talking about people's lives here, we're talking about an institution that's been around for a long time, it's gotta be cared for properly," said Bernardo.

The 2013 Budget must be approved by November 15.

There is a public budget hearing scheduled for October 11, at 5 p.m. in the County Executive building for anyone interested in discussing the Willow Point Nursing home and rehab department.

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