Q&A: Meet San Simeon by the Sound’s new administrator

San Simeon by the Sound Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Greenport has a new administrator and executive vice president.

Steven Smyth, 44, was appointed to the post last month after San Simeon concluded its search to replace Priscilla De Masi.

After a decade at the helm as administrator and executive vice president of San Simeon, Ms. De Masi announced in October that she would be stepping down due to family matters that will require her to move from the area.

Before coming to San Simeon, Mr. Smyth worked at Flushing Manor Nursing Home. Prior to that, he was employed by Avalon Gardens Rehabilitation & Health Care Center in Smithtown.

Mr. Smyth, his wife, Sandra, and their daughters, Athena, 16, and Dina, 11, currently live in Albertson.

We sat down with Mr. Smyth this week at San Simeon to discuss his new career.

Q: What is it about San Simeon that attracted you?

A: Every nursing home has its own culture. San Simeon is a facility that is very involved with the community, and its ties with the community are what really made it attractive to me. Also the fact that it’s a nonprofit. This place has a lot of longevity with its staff, plus we’re very heavily staffed by people from the community. This is really about the community out here and the people whom it serves.

Q: What are some of your goals?

A: We’ve got an amazing reputation, so first I’d like to maintain and improve that reputation. The future for out here would have to be the developing of the rehabilitation program more significantly. We do excellent rehab here, but we’re not really known as a rehab center. We still have that image of a nursing home, and I think we need to get the word out there that we do more than that. We’re working on a six-day rehab program. We’re also looking into doing a six-day program with evening hours for adult day care. We’re also working on a program for veterans.

Q: How will the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as ‘Obamacare,’ affect how San Simeon operates?

A: I bounced it around quite a bit. Obamacare has a lot of facets. Some of it, I think, is positive. It’s a lot of paperwork, but it’s not anything that actually amounts to anything substantial at this point, at least not what I’m seeing. It doesn’t seem that it’s the answer to all prayers, but it has yet to be seen. It’s still in its infancy. It’s an expensive proposition. Other countries are able to provide things like universal health care, but we’re a much larger country with a larger population, so I don’t know if it’s as simple as just offering it to everybody. I give him credit for the attempt, but I don’t know if that’s the answer.

Q: What is your advice to families who are thinking about long-term care for a loved one?

A: You need to look at your finances ahead of time because of the look-back period of obtaining Medicaid coverage, and long-term care is extremely expensive. We’re close to $12,000 a month, which is not something most people could support. I think you really need to plan ahead and understand that as mom and dad are getting older, maybe consider transferring assets, even if they’re in relatively good health, because you’ve got that five-year look-back now. A lot of people don’t want to think along those lines. We don’t want to think about mom going into a nursing home. But it’s just like having life insurance. You’re not hoping to use your life insurance, but you have it. It’s the same approach.

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