Residents, family members and staff at Jewish Home Lifecare/Sarah Neuman Center in Mamaroneck recently signed hundreds of letters protesting proposed cuts to the New York State budget. The aim was to have Assemblyman George Latimer bring the letters to Albany to share with other Westchester representatives and encourge them to protest the cuts and the impact they will have on the quality of life for nursing home residents.
Assemblyman Latimer was invited to the 300-bed nursing home and rehabilitation center to pick up the letters and talk to the residents about their concerns.
Nursing home residents Hortense Gutmann, 102, and Louise Bryant, 90, met with the assemblyman to speak on behalf of all 300 residents urging him to vote against the cuts and to please share their concerns with his Assembly colleagues. Ms. Gutmann spoke about the programs that she attends daily and that contribute to her healthy state of mind in her senior years. Ms. Bryant said she could not understand why waste in the budget wasn’t the first priority rather than cutting programs and services for the frail elderly.
Administrator Rita Morgan explained that the three-quarters-of-a-million-dollar cut to Sarah Neuman in Medicaid reimbursement was the seventh cut to nursing homes in the past 36 months. She said that dramatic steps have already been taken to reduce utility, supply and conference costs. Ms. Morgan extended an invitation to Governor David Paterson to come to the nursing home for a tour and visit with the residents to hear their concerns about the impact of the proposed budget cuts.
Scott Amrhein, president of Continuing Care Leadership Coalition (CCLC), an umbrella organization for 105 New York non-profit nursing homes, also took this opportunity to meet with Mr. Latimer to discuss the serious impact these cuts will have on area nursing homes.
After listening to the residents and loaded down with letters, Mr. Latimer noted that the budget cuts are not just numbers in a chart.
“These are real numbers that have a real impact on people with real needs,” he said. “Seeing those needs first hand is essential before we complete our budget actions.”