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State approves $3.7 million grant for healthcare ‘transformation’ in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 July 2017 at 11:35 am

File photos by Tom Rivers: The County Administration Building on Route 31, behind The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center, will have an addition to make room for relocated county offices, including the Public Health Department.

ALBION – Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that Orleans County would receive a $3,682,748 grant to “protect and transform” healthcare in Orleans County.

The funding would support primary care staff from Oak Orchard Health to work out of the county mental health department. The bulk of the funding would go towards an addition on the County Administration Building for the Health Department.

The Health Department currently is housed in a site owned Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services LLC. Comprehensive acquired that building as part of the $7.8 million acquisition on Jan.1, 2015 of the former county nursing home.

County officials pay an annual six-figure rent to Comprehensive for use of the space for the Health Department, said Chuck Nesbitt, the county’s chief administrative officer.

The entire addition could be $8 million. The state funding “makes the numbers work,” Nesbitt said.

This rendering from Wendel shows a proposed 22,000-square-foot addition to the County Administration Building.

The county can use the lease payments it currently pays Comprehensive to offset some of the local cost for the addition. The county may also relocate the Department of Social Services to the addition, which would bring additional state reimbursement.

County officials initially eyed the addition for the County Legislature and its staff, including a meeting room. That wouldn’t bring state funding.

The county could instead renovate space that would be vacated for the Legislature, Nesbitt said.

The nearly $3.7 million will allow the county to move forward with the project.

“It really is a big deal,” Nesbitt said. “It’s full speed ahead.”

The Public Health Department leases space next to the former Orleans County Nursing Home on Route 31 in Albion.

The state funding is part of  $491 million announced statewide for healthcare projects in the “Health Care Facility Transformation Program.”

The funding will improve patient care through the development of high-quality medical facilities and programs serving the inpatient, primary care, mental health, substance use disorder and long-term care needs of communities throughout New York State, Cuomo said.

“Now, more than ever, we need to protect health care in New York and ensure the system in place is meeting the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers,” Cuomo said in a statement. “While others seek to decimate our hospitals and reduce access to quality healthcare, we are investing to help ensure a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

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