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Nursing home employees picket for health benefits

Jacquie Slater
Updated: October 24, 2019 12:02 PM
Created: October 23, 2019 05:29 PM

Margaret Rivers has worked at Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Delmar for seven years as a housekeeper. After beating cancer, she now finds herself fighting for her health in a different way.

"I'm afraid it might come back and what am I going to do without insurance? I have to have medicine for the rest of my life. Without insurance, I can't get my medicine," said Rivers.

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Rivers is just one of nearly 60 employees threatened with uncertainty as the corporate owner of Good Samaritan is failing to keep up with their employer contributions to their health insurance coverage.

On Wednesday afternoon, the workers picketed to sound the alarm. They were joined by multiple elected officials including Albany County Executive Dan McCoy and state Sen. Neil Breslin who offered up their support.

Nurses, CAN's and other personal care givers say they've long been feeling the pinch from the corporate pocket as staff shortages result in double shifts and residents no longer get the same quality of care items they've had in the past.

"I love the residents here and I love my coworkers. We're like family," said Rivers.

A last minute save came through on Tuesday as Lutheran Care Network, the company that owns Good Samaritan, came through with a last minute save. While they were five months behind in payments union officials say they paid one month of insurance fees which gives them another 30 days of coverage.

They will have to make another payment on Nov. 22 or benefits will lapse.

Joanne St. John has lived at Good Samaritan for the last year. While picketing with her nurses she shared this message for the people in charge.

"Get with it. Show these people that you care for them. Take care of your insurance. Give 'em some benefits," said St. John.

Lutheran Care Network did not return NewsChannel 13's calls for comment.


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