YAPHANK - About 100 patients and community activists rallied in front of the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility in Yaphank this afternoon, urging Suffolk County officials to keep it open.
A deal to sell the county facility to private operators was put in limbo this week when a crucial vote was canceled. The union representing Foley employees was scheduled to vote Tuesday to drop its lawsuit against County Executive Steve Bellone.
The suit seeks to stop the sale of the nursing home to private operators, Israel and Samuel Sherman. The plan to drop the suit was part of a deal guaranteeing employees their positions for 18 months, but workers say there's just too much uncertainty.
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Bellone has warned that if the deal to sell the home falls through, the county will be forced to close it.
Bellone and other county officials have said that Foley is a major drain on taxpayer dollars, to the tune of $12 million per year.
However, patients at the facility and their doting family members are worried about the future of Foley.
"I have been looking for another nursing home," says Celeste Ruhe, of Mastic Beach, who attended the rally today. "I have reached out to seven different nursing homes and nobody has accepted my husband yet. I'm being forced out of here and I don't know where to go next."