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Local News

October 3, 2012

Countryside residents scramble as Oct. 12 closure date looms

“I have no idea what my future is,” Countryside Care Center resident, 53-year-old Gary Finkle said. “It scares the hell out of me.” Finkle, a quadriplegic from a 1980s fall that broke two vertebrae, had been at the facility since 1990. 

In response to a federal request to correct healthcare deficiencies, Countryside operator Leatherstocking Healthcare LLC filed a closure plan with the state Department of Health in mid-September. It called for Oct. 12 to be the last day before Countryside’s doors are closed for good. As of Monday, 93 residents remained, down from the approximately 125 when the closure was announced in September. The latest employee estimate was 150.

The facility was bought from Delaware County by Leatherstocking in 2006. The company hasn’t responded to repeated numerous phone calls and emails since the move to close the facility began. The company was not accepting voicemails at its phone number Tuesday. The Department of Health, which is working with facility on the closure, previously said that proper care will be found for all residents.

Staff, residents and their family talked about the situation at the facility Tuesday.

Finkle said he was waiting to reschedule an operation for a pressure sore at A.O. Fox Hospital that was supposed to take place in September. An upper respiratory infection forced the cancellation. Now, he isn’t sure where if he can go to Fox for the procedure.

“I don’t know who is going to be here” at the end of next week, he said, and administrators haven’t told him what to expect.

Over the years, he has purchased equipment that allows him to function in the room by operating electronic equipment such as a computer and television. He doesn’t know what will happen to that in a new location, he said.

His sister, area resident Ellen Ciferri, came to see him. She has been a regular visitor since she moved back to the area four years ago. His certified nursing assistant and nurses are “wonderful,” she said.

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