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Meadowbrook Healthcare Administrator Paul Richards and finance director Lucinda LaDuke show where the proposed expansion will be located. The addition will feature an attached two-story building at the rear of the current facility. (Staff Photo/Kelli Catana)

Meadowbrook project offers region more beds, jobs

By: JEFF MEYERS

PLATTSBURGH — A planned expansion at Meadowbrook Healthcare in Plattsburgh will provide new nursing-home beds in a state-of-the-art “neighborhood” design.

And dozens of new jobs will be created.

Meadowbrook recently submitted a Certificate of Need application to the New York State Department of Health for approval to add 80 additional beds to its facility at 154 Prospect Ave.

“We’re pleased to have an opportunity to bring new beds into the community,” said Meadowbrook Administrator Paul Richards. “These beds are desperately needed.”

‘NEIGHBORHOOD’ DESIGN

The expansion will feature an attached two-story building at the rear of the current facility.

Each floor will hold 40 beds, broken into sections of 20 beds that comprise a new concept in nursing-home design by grouping residents into “neighborhoods” with private rooms connected to public gathering areas.

“It’s a layout that will afford residents more individual privacy and living space than the traditional design,” Richards said.

“The old nursing-home model (with double corridors connected by a nursing station) is broken. Today’s people need more common space, a more home-like atmosphere, more square footage.”

The concept also promotes improved interaction between residents and staff, he added.

PREVIOUS PLAN CANCELED

The expansion replaces another proposal Meadowbrook developed several years ago, when officials planned to construct a massive 210-bed facility adjacent to Pine Harbour Assisted Living Facility on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base.

That project had been approved by the State Department of Health, but financial issues have stalled construction since design plans were first announced.

“The world has changed as we know it,” Richards said.

Adjustments in Medicaid reimbursements and other changes in health care have played a major role in reducing the feasibility for construction of the 210-bed facility, which was slated to be named the James Mann Health Center in memory of a surgeon who treated injured sailors on Crab Island during the 1814 Battle of Plattsburgh.

“We need to make sure the business model we plan if feasible economically,” Richards said.

BEDS RESERVED

Of the 80 new beds at Meadowbrook, 54 will be reserved for residents now staying at CVPH Medical Center.

Meadowbrook and CVPH had an initial agreement to move those residents to the James Mann facility once completed, and the two providers will uphold that agreement with the new expansion plans.

Evergreen Valley Nursing Home was also planning to shift its 89 beds to the James Mann facility, but Evergreen will now continue to operate at its current location on South Catherine Street.

‘NEW DYNAMICS’

The community was faced with a shortage in nursing-home beds when Cedar Hedge Nursing Home in Rouses Point closed in 2006, creating a loss of 60 regional beds.

“Not much has changed in terms of community need,” Richards said. “But there are a lot of new dynamics in heath care; we believe this (new project) fits in line with today’s health-care system.”

With 26 open beds at the new facility, Richards said, Meadowbrook will be at full occupancy once the project is complete.

Construction will begin once Meadowbrook receives approval from all local and state permits. Richards believes the project will be completed within two to three years.

JOBS

He expects the project to open as many as 70 new full-time positions at Meadowbrook.

With CVPH transferring 54 senior residents to Meadowbrook, Richards hopes many of the employees at CVPH will apply for openings at Meadowbrook and remain with the residents they have been working with.

“We sincerely respect and value the elderly and value the providers who serve and care for the elderly,” he said.

Meadowbrook currently has about 275 full- and part-time staff members.

“Meadowbrook has earned a great reputation in the community,” Richards said.

“We are looking forward to building on this success during our expansion project and will continue to provide quality health-care services to the community.”

Email Jeff Meyers:jmeyers@pressrepublican.com

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