Family health center opens

Health care representatives and clergy gathered for a ceremony Wednesday to celebrate the opening of
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Health care representatives and clergy gathered for a ceremony Wednesday to celebrate the opening of St. Mary’s Hospital Family Health Center in Canajoharie, a project planned for several years but stalled by the flooding that devastated Mohawk Valley Communities in 2006.

The 7,500-square-foot facility, at 48 Erie Blvd. just west of the Arkell Museum and Art Gallery, reflects a commitment by several entities concerned with maintaining a tradition of local health care services in western Montgomery County that’s spanned more than 20 years, hospital representatives said.

The Arkell Hall Foundation, the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese, the state through Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, and Fidelis Care contributed about $690,000 toward the $1.8 million project, St. Mary’s CEO Victor Giulianelli said.

Bishop Howard Hubbard spoke to a group of about 60 people attending the ceremony and recognized the agencies and people who invested time and money in the goal of maintaining local health care services.

After the flooding, Hubbard said, there was a fear people would abandon the riverside communities, leaving empty business buildings and residences.

Instead, Hubbard said, “people bonded together, pulled together,” and worked to rebuild.

St. Mary’s Hospital Vice President of Operations Scott Bruce said the health center, which employs 16 people, serves as a local resource for residents in Canajoharie and surrounding communities, including Fort Plain and Palatine.

The center includes on-site laboratory and X-ray services, Bruce said.

“It’s all the benefits of a primary care physician’s practice plus the added convenience of on-site services as well,” Bruce said.

The center is expected to receive approximately 15,000 patient visits each year, Bruce said.

Giulianelli said St. Mary’s Hospital administrators were “heavy into planning” the new facility when the 2006 flooding took place, and the possibility of more floods was taken into account during design and construction.

The land the center was built on required bringing in numerous truckloads of dirt to raise the entire structure 4 feet, essentially out of the flood plain itself, Giulianelli said.

Canajoharie Mayor Leigh Fuller, one of several speakers at the event, told the group the new center and community spirit that made it possible make him proud he chose Canajoharie as his home.

Fuller also said he’s suffered two heart attacks and two strokes but, thanks to St. Mary’s Hospital, “I’m still here.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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