YAPHANK - Suffolk's plan to shut down its county-run nursing home may save taxpayers, but critics say it's costing patients.

Despite his own battle with cancer and cerebral palsy, Rich Phillips fought until the end against the sale of Suffolk's John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility.

He died days after being transferred to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital for undisclosed reasons. Sources say he was denied permission to return to Foley. That decision was reversed, but Phillips passed away before he could return to what he regarded as his home.

Phillips' death has added even more tension as the county continues its plan to close the facility down.

As residents begin to be transferred, legislators are still fighting to try and keep the facility open, saying they're worried what will happen to the residents' health once they leave.

County officials tell News 12 that Foley patients and their families have been provided with counseling and information on other nursing homes. They also say the Foley staff has been trained on how to deal with trauma from the plan to shut down the nursing home.