Schenectady County

Schenectady County gets OK to build

Schenectady County received approval from the state Thursday to build a $51 million, 200-bed nursing

Schenectady County received approval from the state Thursday to build a $51 million, 200-bed nursing home to replace the aging Glendale Home in Glenville.

Finding the money is the next objective.

But it must begin construction by Nov. 1 to keep the approval, according to the state Hospital Review and Planning Council, which met in New York City.

The council also said the county must meet several other conditions, including the provision of final construction documents, a bond note, a debt amortization schedule and a plan to reduce the Glendale skilled nursing facility to 200 beds from its current census of 220.

As part of its approval, the state said the county must complete construction of the new facility by Nov. 1, 2011.

County Legislator Dr. Brian Gordon said county officials will meet with the state to discuss how to pay for the construction. “My most important issue is moving this along in a timely fashion. Susan and I will meet with the rest of Legislature and come up with plans on how we will expedite it,” Gordon said, referring to Susan Savage, chairwoman of the county Legislature.

“We need to modernize the facility and deliver care in an even more efficient manner and to continue the excellent care we provide to residents of Glendale,” Gordon said.

Savage said the state’s decision “means that people who have lived and worked in our community their whole lives will continue to have options when they need nursing home care.”

Gordon said the county will build the new facility on Glendale’s Hetcheltown Road campus. “It will be done in stages. Our goal is to build a new facility with as little disruption as possible,” he said.

The county will use portions of the existing Glendale facility for senior housing and medical services, Gordon said.

“This gives us options now and allows us to progress. We needed to have a facility with 200 beds in order to create a state-of-art environment,” Gordon said.

longstanding need

The county wants to build a new nursing home because Glendale is obsolete. It consists of a series of buildings, some constructed decades ago, some without their own heating and cooling plants. The Berger Commission, more formally known as the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, originally suggested the county keep Glendale open and downsize it to 168 beds. The commission findings became law in January 2007. County officials fought the recommendation and got the state to agree to 200 beds. At one time, Glendale had 528 beds.

The county submitted a certificate of need to the state last May for permission to build the new facility.

The county said a new facility will allow it to reduce its annual subsidy by several million dollars through a method called rebasing. Many county-operated nursing homes were built 30 to 40 years ago and are locked into a reimbursement rate that uses 1983 as a base year. The rate does not adequately reflect today’s operating costs, officials said.

By building new, the county would set its new base at the year 2006. However, the county may not see the savings it expects because the state eliminated a program called the Public Facilities Grant.

The total cost to operate Glendale next year will be approximately $27.4 million, more than 10 percent of the county’s total 2009 budget of $235 million. The county receives $20 million in patient billings, plus $3 million in a special federal reimbursement. The rest comes from the general fund. In 2008, the county subsidy was $7.4 million. It will be approximately $4 million in 2009, as the county is using a federal subsidy to offset local costs.

Categories: Schenectady County

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