After 200 years of running some kind of home for the poor and elderly, Onondaga County is officially out of the business.
At midnight, on December 1st a private company that already ran 11 nursing homes in New York took over the Van Duyn Home and Hospital and the care of its approximately 500 residents - most of them poor enough to be on Medicaid.
Two years ago, with Van Duyn bleeding money and being listed among the 150 worst nursing homes in the country by the federal government, the future of Van Duyn looked more than bleak. Officials from the county and the new company, Upstate Services Group, say the transfer saves a vital home for the elderly who can't afford to go elsewhere.
"A lot of people were convinced that Van Duyn would have to close," said former county Legislature Chairman Jim Rhinehart, whose mother went to rehabilitation at the nursing home. "There's no reason why the private sector can't be successful there and provide good service to the community."