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Sitrin Health Care CEO discusses NeuroCare, other projects in 2016

NEW HARTFORD — Sitrin Health Care Center in New Hartford is preparing to open Sitrin NeuroCare, a 32-bed long-term care program for patients with Huntington’s disease and ALS.

Sitrin first announced the project about a year ago, describing it as the “only one of its kind” in upstate New York in a Feb. 26, 2015 news release.

The expansion will create 40 jobs, Sitrin said. It expects the unit to open in April.

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The New York State Department of Health (DOH) approved $2 million in funding to help Sitrin pay for the launch and program-development operating costs for the new program.

The state Health Department will visit Sitrin on March 3 to conduct its opening survey, says Christa Serafin, president & CEO of Sitrin Health Care Center.

“We’re hoping that once they come and do their survey … if there’s any outstanding issues that we can resolve all those within a month,” says Serafin.

Sitrin Health Care Center provides post-acute, long-term care services, which include medical rehabilitation, skilled nursing and respite care, a military-rehabilitation program, residential care for individuals with developmental disabilities, dental services, child care, medically-affiliated adult day health care, assisted living, and housing.

Launched in 1951, Sitrin currently employs nearly 600 people.

The campus includes about 20 buildings that sit on 220 acres, with other off-site locations as well.

Sitrin generates about $28 million in revenue annually, according to Serafin.

Renovation
Sitrin Health Care Center is “nearing the completion” of its renovation project for the NeuroCare unit.

Sitrin is renovating a former skilled- nursing unit on the second floor of its health-care center, where it will locate the new inpatient long-term care unit.

“We gutted an existing unit … and totally renovated it,” she says.

Syracuse–based Hayner Hoyt Construction Co. was the contractor on the project, and Schopfer Architects, LLP of Syracuse was project architect, she says.

“We already have 24 individuals on the waiting list from all across the state, so we are gaining interest through different social-media outlets,” says Serafin.

The organization has a dedicated website for the program that it launched a couple months ago, she adds.

Sitrin wasn’t permitted to use DOH grant funding for the renovation and equipment costs, which total more than $1.5 million.

To help offset equipment costs, the New York State Office of Community Renewal awarded Sitrin a grant $350,000.

Sitrin also launched a development campaign to raise the additional funding, which has generated more than $600,000 so far, according to Serafin.

DSRIP program
Sitrin Health Care Center is also working on a project that’s part of an overall effort to reform the Medicaid-delivery system in a five-county region over the next five years, according to Serafin.

Sitrin is helping to implement the INTERACT project (short for interventions to reduce acute-care transfers). The project aims to implement evidence-based interventions to reduce avoidable hospitalizations of nursing-home residents.

“That’s a quality improvement program that focuses on addressing changes in a resident’s condition so that they will not have to be hospitalized,” says Serafin.

Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown is the lead organization for the five-county, performing-provider system (PPS) formed under the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program.

The New York State Department of Health announced the DSRIP PPS awards May 21, 2015, according to a June 30 news release from Bassett Medical Center.

Bassett Medical Center is working with more than 90 collaborating organizations across Delaware, Herkimer, Madison, Otsego, and Schoharie counties to help reform the region’s Medicaid delivery system over the next five years.

The organizations involved have to reach certain goals outlined for the more than 62,000 Medicaid recipients living in the five-county area and assigned to the DSRIP PPS.

New York wants the nearly $72 million in funding to give providers incentive to create “high performing,” sustainable health-care delivery systems that can “effectively” meet the needs of Medicaid beneficiaries and low-income, uninsured individuals in their communities “by improving care, improving health and reducing costs.”

Ultimately, the goal is to improve clinical outcomes and reduce avoidable hospital admissions and emergency-department visits by 25 percent over five years, according to Bassett.  

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