PLATTSBURGH — The takeover of home health care by a private company in Clinton County is about to become official.
HCR Home Health Care of Rochester will be issued formal approval from the State Department of Health to complete the purchase of the county’s license to provide the service.
A ceremony will be held at HCR’s offices 176 U.S. Oval at noon Monday to mark the takeover.
“The transition of the certified home-health-care services has gone extremely smoothly, and that is a credit to HCR, the county employees and the patients,” County Administrator Michael Zurlo said.
HCR was selected by the county last year to take over the services in a cost-saving measure. The county sought to sell its home-health-care license and effectively privatize the service after experiencing losses of up to $2 million per year in recent years.
The move was controversial, as county’s home-health-care staffers worried that they would lose their jobs and that patient care might suffer. On several occasions they packed the Legislature Chambers to voice their opposition to the sale of the license.
But legislators decided anyway to make the deal with HCR.
In April, HCR took over the service under a management agreement with the county as they worked to complete approval of the deal with the state.
HCR hired 32 of 56 nurses from the county and one clerical worker. It also brought aboard several local physical, occupational and other therapists who used to work for the county on a contract basis.
The company is also working with the local health-care community, including CVPH Medical Center and the Northern Adirondack Medical Home Project.
Karen Ashline, director of the Home Project, said the transition is going well.
“In the health-care arena, coordination and collaboration are crucial to ensuring that patients have the supports needed to maintain both their health status and their independence,” she said.
“The collaborative efforts between HCR Home Care and the Medical Home Care management staff are evidence that a team-based approach to care coordination is fundamental to successful patient outcomes.”
Nichole Louis, director of patient services for HCR, is also satisfied with the results so far.
“I am so pleased to be the director of patient services in the same community I grew up,” she said.
“I am committed to leading the Clinton County HCR team of dedicated professionals in providing the high-quality home care our community has come to expect.”
Joseph Musso, the president of the county employees union, said he has not heard any complaints about the takeover.
“I wasn’t happy about it at the time, but it happened, and we all made the best out of what was a bad situation,” he said.
“If they (HCR) are contributing positively to the community, then I applaud them.”
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