YAPHANK - Suffolk County's plans to sell the John J. Foley Nursing Home in Yaphank to a private operator are facing a new setback.

Members of a panel of state health regulators have voted 10-0 against allowing the sale to go through.

Several patients and their relatives appeared before the panel to request that the home remain county-operated. They argued that Foley is a last resort home for severely disabled people who are on Medicaid, and a privately run nursing home might be inclined to turn down such patients because they're more expensive to care for.

County officials argue that they need the cash from the sale to plug a major gap in Suffolk's budget.

A spokesman for the potential buyer of the nursing home says a different plan to buy the property could surface.