Schenectady County officials say they have received state approval to resubmit an application to build a 200-bed nursing home to replace the aging Glendale Home on Hetcheltown Road.
“We have had a dialogue with what the New York state Department of Health is comfortable with,” said County Manager Kathleen Rooney. “They are not approving our new building now; they are giving us permission to provide a revised certificate of need.”
The certificate of need is the first step in the state’s review process for new health-care facilties. The state froze accepting new certificates from this area as part of recommendations from the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, also known as the Berger Commission, which became law in January 2007.
The county expects to submit its revised certifcate within weeks, Rooney said. She said the proposed facility could cost between $45 million and $50 million to build. The state would provide 85 percent reimbursement for the construction cost, and the county would be responsible for the remainder. Rooney said she plans to seek state grants to offset the local cost.
“In discussions with the state, they said they are comfortable with us going to a 200-bed facility. This is a significant finding,” Rooney told county legislators Tuesday night. “Building a new facility makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons.”
A new facility would allow the county to obtain higher reimbursement from the state for operations, it would improve the quality of care for residents and it would save the county money, as it has to subsidize the Glendale Home’s operations to the tune of about $7 million annually. Rooney said the new facility, even with debt service, would be less expensive to operate than the Glendale Home.
The county is under state mandate to downsize the 360-bed skilled nursing facility to 168 beds. County officials protested the decision, saying it would leave the county with too few nursing home beds to meet anticipated demand.
Dr. Brian Gordon, chairman of the county Legislature’s Health Committee, said the state’s reconsideration of the county’s certificate is a positive sign.
“It looks favorable that it will happen. I am optimistic we will get to a 200-bed facility,” he said.
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