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December 21, 2012

Possible buyer could reopen Countryside

By Mark Boshnack
The Daily Star

---- — There is still hope that a nursing home could reopen in Delhi, officials said Thursday. Countryside Care Center owners Leatherstocking Healthcare LLC decided to close the 199-bed facility in October, rather than developing a plan to address state Department of Health safety concerns. There was talk at that time of a possible buyer. The facility employed 200.

“From our perspective, things are moving forward with the sale of Countryside,” Stephanie Valle, a spokeswoman for Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook. She identified the possible buyers as including Steven Reynolds, an owner of Valley View Manor in Norwich. He could not be reached for comment at his office Thursday.

The matter is before the state Department of Health, and the buyer is awaiting its approval, she said. Gibson, along with Sen. John Bonacic, R-New Hope, and Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, R-Guilford, wrote to the commissioner of the Department of Health in November asking for an “expeditious review,” and “we’re hopeful that will happen soon,” she said.

Gibson’s office has been in constant contact with the buyer, and he understands that they are already taking steps, including building maintenance, to ensure that once approval is given, “the facility can be up and running quickly,” she said. A Health Department spokeman was not able to comment on the situation Thursday.

A call to Leatherstocking partner Ralph Reid was not returned.

Delaware County Social Services Commissioner William Moon said he has no direct knowledge of the situation but has heard that the group including Reynolds was

involved in discussions about reopening the facility. If that is true it would be “significant,” for a couple of reasons. The county needs the beds to keep residents close to family. Before the facility was closed residents were moved to nursing homes around the state.

“That was the greatest tragedy” about what happened, he said.

The closing also left a number of health-care professionals without employment, he said. Those involved in the talks have a good reputation that could attract some of those workers back.

He was looking forward to working with the new owners and will play an integral roll in referring clients to them, he said. He was responsible for 15 patients who had been lived there and would like to bring them back to the county if approval is received.