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Local News

October 3, 2012

Gibson asks feds to delay Countryside aid cutoff

Rep. Chris Gibson has asked the federal government to reconsider a Medicare and Medicaid cutoff for Countryside Care Center to enable a potential buyer to step in, the congressman’s office confirmed Tuesday.

In a letter dated Friday, Gibson, R-Kinderhook, wrote, “The closure of this facility would have a devastating impact to that region of my district.”

Stephanie Valle, a spokeswoman for Gibson, confirmed that a potential buyer had contacted the congressman’s office, but she would not identify the interested party.

“At this point, I would say … that there’s just a potential buyer that has contacted our office,” she said.

“I think that in the opinion of the people who spoke with them – and I know they’ve reached out to Sen. (Kirsten) Gillibrand’s office, as well – it’s someone that seems to be a serious buyer.”

Asked whether that party was already in the nursing home business, Valle replied: “That would be my understanding.”

Gibson’s letter to Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, asks the agency to consider alternatives to an Oct. 12 cutoff for the current provider agreement that would stop Medicare and Medicaid payments.

“There is a buyer ready to step in, but the sale is contingent on a provider agreement being in place, which often takes one to three months to obtain,” Gibson wrote.

“I ask that your office revisit the termination of the provider agreement and immediately consider a reinstatement that is strictly for the purpose of being transferred to a new ownership.”

Gibson’s office has also contacted the office of Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, R-Guilford, to coordinate their approach, Crouch said.

“A lot times, these things can be transferred, rather than starting fresh, which can take a considerable amount of time,” Crouch said. “I think that’s pretty much the standard no matter whether you’re talking a liquor license or nursing homes. It’s always easier sometimes to transfer an agreement or transfer the license, so to speak, rather than starting fresh.”

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