May 19, 2003 at 6:29 p.m.
Residents of San Mateo County’s biggest nursing home have been facing a different: eviction. But now, they are breathing a sigh of relief.
The prospect of being forced to leave their home at the Burlingame Health Care Center was just too unbearable for the residents, many of whom testified before the board of supervisors last month.
But now with the likelihood of a county takeover, the residents are happy and relieved. Suha Balat suffers from multiple sclerosis.
“It was like heaven was open,” Balat says. “It was victor, you don’t know the relief everyone of us felt.”
Connie Spiess literally would have had no place to go and nobody to take her in. Her husband lives in a homeless shelter.
“It was a terrible anxious feeling not knowing what would happen next. And now I’m absolutely thrilled,” Connie says.
In fact, many if not most of the residents of this 281-bed facility would have had to move to nursing homes out of the county and away from their families.
That was the problem. Its 11% of the elderly care beds in San Mateo County and most of them are medical beds, which are hard to place, so we saw the need.
The crisis began last fall when the owners of the nursing home filed for bankruptcy. Since November, the state has been operating the home with government emergency funds.
No new owners came forward so the county began negotiations to buy the facility as part of its medical center. The biggest hurdle was reaching a lease agreement with the property owner.
County supervisor Jerry Hill says a tentative agreement has been reached.
“So they have to work out the fine points,” Hill says. “It’s my understanding they're shooting for July 1 st transfer date.”
County supervisors still have to formally approve the takeover early
next month. But for Pauline del Rio and her friends at the Burlingame Health
Care Center, the partying starts now.
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