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Step Back In Time

February 26, 2014

Step Back in Time: Feb. 26, 2014

50 years agoFeb. 26, 1964

Homer Folks State Tuberculosis Hospital is, like most other phases of society, changing with the times.

But the hospital on the hill off Upper West Street, in the final stages of the work it was originally designed to do, still keeps a complement of 240 and a full medical staff busy every day in a continuing battle against a once-dread disease.

For even as its facilities and budgets shrink, its duties, responsibilities and number of patients is expanding by leaps and bounds.

While the hospital itself has found a decreasing demand for its beds, outlying areas are finding its mobile services more and more vital.

Dr. Frederick Beck, director, described the hospital’s changing responsibilities as “related to the amazing drop in the number of tuberculosis cases in the past few years.”

He noted that Homer Folks is one of the last three state supported tuberculosis hospitals left out of the original seven. The other four were closed within the last five years.

“When the hospital was first built, it served only six counties. Now it serves 19 counties and even takes in patients from the New York City area,” Dr. Beck reported.

But at the same time, demand for the hospital’s beds has decreased.

“For the last several years, we have admitted only about 350 patients each year. Our average census was 178 patients per day in 1962-63 and we have predicted an average census of 175 for the current year which will end April 1,” Dr. Beck revealed.

Capacity at the Homer Folks is about 250.

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