The Community Board 2 meeting grew intense last week as members vehemently opposed giving a letter of support for ArchCare to secure funding for its San Vicente de Paul Nursing Home.
San Vicente de Paul, an assisted living and nursing home facility located at 900 Intervale Ave., has been in the borough for 25 years, but has faced financial struggles. Recently, Councilman Rafael Salamanca and members of the board felt that the facility had not been completely transparent with its intentions.
According to the councilman, who attended the Nov. 18 meeting, the issue stemmed from a rumor that ArchCare wanted to close the facility due to a lack of residents. Salamanca said that he had met with ArchCare’s CEO Scott LaRue and told him they must find a way to stay open.
He explained that ArchCare is a good facility that not only took care of his father until he passed away from COVID-19 in the spring, but also many family members of CB2 residents.
“I understand the value they have in our community,” he said. “I was able to see my dad whenever I wanted to see him.”
He stressed that he along with CB2 members have made attempts to meet or speak with Arch representatives, but nothing has come to fruition.
“Let’s make something clear, I want them to be honest and truthful about what’s happening,” Salamanca said. “Their office has done a poor job in reaching out to my office.”
Others like Luis Marrero, chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, said that withholding their support was the right move.
“I think this [not sending the letter of support] is sending a clear message that St. Vincent De Paul needs to build a bridge again,” said Marrero.
CB2 Chair Robert Crespo commended the health care workers at Arch who have risked their lives during the pandemic, but stressed the higher ups are causing the problem.
“We should not be treated in this fashion,” Crespo said. “Every time we try to set up something with the administration at St. Vincent De Paul, it was always canceled.”
LaRue spoke with the Bronx Times about the dire situation of the nursing home, explaining that since the facility is 100 percent Medicaid-supported, it has always struggled financially.
According to LaRue, things have gotten worse because New York is the only state that didn’t enhance nursing home reimbursement for Medicaid during the pandemic. ArchCare is trying to access the distressed funding pool set aside in the state budget, which can be used for nursing homes, but the state hasn’t made the same commitment to support nursing homes in poor communities, LaRue said.
In August he sent out a letter to the community board and elected officials outlining the situation. He hopes to meet with them soon to sort everything out.
He noted that he was surprised and upset the community board did not approve a letter of support to help them.
“I don’t want this to be a back and forth about who said what, when,” he stressed. “I’m confident if the community comes together we can fix this. Given the economic situation of the state, trying to pry any money out of their hands is a very difficult thing to do.”