NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. — The Sitrin Health Care Center of New Hartford plans to open a 32-bed, long-term care unit for people who have neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington’s Disease (HD).
The expansion, which Sitrin expects to open in January 2016, will create 40 jobs, the organization said in a news release Thursday.
Sitrin is partnering with the New York State Department of Health (DOH) on this inpatient program, which it says will be the “only one of its kind in Upstate [New York].”
The state Health Department has approved $2 million in funding to help Sitrin pay for the launch and program-development operating costs for the new program.
Besides the program development, Sitrin also has to renovate a former skilled-nursing unit on the second floor of its health-care center, where it will locate the new unit.
The health-care organization says the renovation, and the purchase and installation of specialized equipment and furnishings, will cost about $1 million.
Sitrin isn’t permitted to use DOH grant funding for the renovation and equipments costs, the organization said in response to an inquiry from CNYBJ.
To help offset equipment costs, the New York State Office of Community Renewal awarded Sitrin a grant $350,000. Sitrin has also launched a development campaign to raise the additional $650,000, the organization said.
Sitrin shares the DOH’s vision of providing New York residents who have Huntington’s Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases access to “comprehensive and coordinated” inpatient and outpatient services within the state and “during the continuum of their illnesses,” Christa Serafin, president and CEO of Sitrin, said in the news release.
“Sitrin, in conjunction with the DOH, is collaborating with experts across the industry and throughout the state to form a strong foundation to improve care and quality of life for persons with Huntington’s Disease and other neurodegenerative motor-function disorders,” Serafin said.
The DOH selected Serafin to serve on its newly formed neurodegenerative diseases advisory committee.
Serafin, along with other members of this group, has been working on establishing standards of care, program development and training, environment design, community and family outreach, and research and innovation on the care of neurodegenerative diseases.
Sitrin contends the need for services to treat people with Huntington’s Disease “has never been greater.”
HD is a hereditary, degenerative brain disorder that currently has no cure.
The organization cites DOH statistics that indicate more than 100 New York residents dealing with HD are residing throughout the state in long-term care facilities “that are not dedicated to treating HD patients,” Sitrin said.
In addition, 55 New York residents are living in out-of-state facilities due to lack of HD facilities in New York, the organization added.
Sitrin will follow the principles that the New York City–based Huntington’s Disease Society of America has established, which include “embracing the commitment” to provide coordinated clinical care and access to ancillary therapies; “compassionate” social work and genetic counseling; peer networking; and opportunities to participate in research “that may someday lead to a cure,” the organization said.