Burlingame Long-Term Care facility shutting down


"I could go to a board and care, but it's too expensive. I could go to... I just don't want to move. Thank you," said Connie Lauser, a care center resident.

Lauser fought back tears, thinking about the unthinkable -- moving from the place she and 230 other residents call home. The county health department, which runs the long term care center, says it's losing $9 million a year and the aging building, they say, is unsafe.

"If Burlingame were built today, it would not be approved under current codes," said Jean Fraser, chief of the San Mateo County Health System.

Many came to the hearing, thinking they could convince the supervisors to renew the lease which expires in 16 months. Those testifying included nurses and union officials, who represent the 200 workers who will be laid off.

"For many of these patients, their only home, their only family are our union members who care for them on a daily basis," said Shelley Kessler from the San Mateo Labor Council.

But after three hours of testimony, much of it emotional, the supervisors voted unanimously not to renew the lease. They hope to move many of the residents to the county hospital where they can add more beds.

"We have a beautiful facility that's seismically safe, that's close to our medical center, close to all our doctors and nurses," said San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley.

The rest, they say, will be moved to other care facilities. But for the residents, it is a bitter ending.

"They had their minds made up from the beginning, so they made us go through all this for nothing," said Anna Tupou, a care center resident.

The workers who will be laid off will get severance packages. The county also says it will try and place them in other jobs, but in this economic climate that may be difficult.

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