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Nursing home plans move forward

The Schenectady County Legislature voted 12-to-0 to send a request to the state Department of Health that would enable the county to build a new 200-bed nursing facility.

At a special meeting of the Legislature on Wednesday, May 28, county officials said the facility could open as early as 2010 and would be fully functioning by 2012.

The request, called a certificate of need, will require the county to restrict admissions to the current Glendale Home by 2010, off Hetcheltown Road in Glenville.

County Manager Kathleen Rooney said Glendale houses between 230 and 235 residents in a building that contains 360 beds. She said the county's goal is to reduce the number of beds to 220 by the end of this year; 210 beds by the end of 2009; and 200 beds by the end of 2009.

County officials called the creation of a 200-bed facility a victory in light of findings by the state's Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, also known as the Berger Commission. The Berger Commission recommended the county downsize the 360-bed Glendale skilled nursing facility to 168 beds. Its recommendations became law in January 2007.

"Downsizing to 168 beds is inadequate," said Legislator Brian Gordon, D-Niskayuna, chairman of the Legislature's Health committee. "We are responsible to have facilities of adequate size to take care of our community."

The Berger Commission also mandated consolidation of the services of Ellis Hospital with those of Bellevue Woman's Hospital and St. Clare's Hospital. The consolidation is currently under way.

Gordon also said that a 200-bed facility could allow for the discharges of non-acute patients from Ellis Hospital to the Glendale Home in busy winter months.

"It's very important to have the ability to be able to discharge patients in a timely fashion," said Gordon.

Commissioner of Finance George Davidson said the project will cost approximately $50.5 million.

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