Recommendations To Close Or Merge Hospitals And Nursing Homes

By Kerri O'Hara

July 22, 2010 Updated Nov 28, 2006 at 9:36 PM EDT

Broome County needs a nursing home, but not the kind the county runs now at Willow Point in Vestal.

A state panel says there are problems.

Willow Point has too many beds, loses millions, and can't provide the quality care expected today.

"It just reinforces it. I think as an independent commission they've come to the same conclusion. We're in a 45 year old building and it doesn't lend itself to the type of care we want to provide to our senior citizens," says Willow Point Administrator Judy Blanding.

The Broome County Executive has proposed building a new nursing home.

And the state commission agrees.

Right now Willow Point holds 383 residents.

The commission recommends a modern facility with fewer beds, around 300.

And it says space should be available to expand in the future.

There should also be an adult daycare program.

"We're excited. It seems very positive. We're certainly looking to build a new facility for all the right reasons and I think this just supports those reasons," says Blanding.

A recent estimate to build a new nursing home is around 66 million dollars.

Federal and state money is available to help Willow Point and other facilities meet the commissions recommendations.

Broome County has already applied for grants.

It plans to build at the Greater Binghamton Health Center.

The Health Care Facilities report could block a planned hospital merger in Chemung County.

Right now, Elmira has two hospitals.

St Joseph's and Arnot Ogden.

St Joseph's has agreed to sell to Guthrie Health Care in Pennsylvania.

The commission wants the state to reject the application.

It says the Elmira area only needs one hospital and that further competition will only hurt health care services.

It recommends St Joseph's and Arnot Ogden either merge, or one should close.

The two did discuss merging years ago but never reached an agreement.

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