SIDNEY: State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mt. Hope), and Dr. William Streck, President & CEO of Bassett Healthcare, today announced plans to reestablish a hospital in Sidney with 24-hour emergency services and a limited number of inpatient beds.
The agreement was reached after months of negotiations between Governor George Pataki, Bonacic, and Dr. Streck. The overall plan provides debt relief to the town of Sidney, transfers ownership of the former hospital building to Bassett, and includes a Certificate of Need
filing by Bassett to re-institute hospital services. The Department of Health expects to expedite the approval of the Certificate of Need, a legally required step before a hospital can be opened.
Senator Bonacic said, "Community hospitals save lives. Reopening a hospital in Sidney, with a strong partner like Bassett, has been my goal from the moment hospital officials told me they were going to close. I never want to lose a hospital on my watch. We need a community hospital. This is a good day."
New York State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., said, "I am pleased that we have been able to successfully work with Senator Bonacic and Bassett Healthcare on behalf of Governor Pataki to bring this important initiative to fruition and help ensure a strong community health care system for the people of Delaware County."
Bonacic has also been strongly supportive of other hospitals in Delaware County, previously securing legislative funding for Delaware Valley, O'Connor, and Margaretville hospitals.
Following last year's closure, Bassett established primary care, urgent care, and laboratory and radiology services on the campus of the former hospital. "As we promised last year," said Dr. Streck, "we have evaluated the needs and desires of the community and we now have a plan that largely reconstitutes health services in Sidney."
The agreement by Bassett to purchase the former hospital building for $2 million was reached after Senator Bonacic secured $1 million through the Senate, and then successfully worked with Governor Pataki to identify another $1 million grant. Bassett agreed to use that money to purchase the building. Bassett will also seek additional funding under the State's HEAL NY program, which is designed to address health care restructuring.
Town of Sidney Supervisor Joseph Maddalone said, "This agreement represents two things very important to Sidney: a hospital and debt relief. Senator Bonacic and Bassett have given us a path to returning a hospital to Sidney and are providing us with much needed revenue. This is a good day. I believe there will be more good days ahead."
Bassett will also seek to develop a larger health complex consisting of diagnostic radiology and imaging, laboratory, and expanded outpatient services. These activities would be part of the Bassett network, electronically connected to Cooperstown and other components of the Bassett system. Regional physicians will be invited to become members of the medical staff and to assist in the design and implementation of the new services. The campus would also provide a site for office-based practices and services.
Sidney, New York, is a community of 6,000 with two major industries, Mead-Westvaco and Amphenol, as well as other significant business enterprises. Sidney recently suffered from the flooding that involved this part of the state and the hospital campus has been utilized for offices for support for some of the businesses. Overall, however, the goal is to provide a boost to the community's sense of the future as well as assuring businesses of the long term commitment to quality health services in the region and Bassett's role in that effort.
The basic timetable has begun with the purchase of the building. This first step will serve to assist the Town in addressing its debt obligation and to allow opportunity for other organizations to use the facility for office and program development. The next step taken will be the submission of a Certificate of Need to the Department of Health with anticipated completion of that review by the end of the year. With approval, Bassett would move ahead to reestablish the emergency room and the progressive development of other services on the hospital campus. Throughout this time, discussions with the community and local physicians will continue to outline the best ways to augment the programs in the region.
"The idea of the former hospital site becoming a vibrant health campus with health and other related business is one that we articulated after The Hospital closed last year. We believe that this plan is the first and defining step in accomplishing this long term vision for the community," added Dr. Streck.
Senator Bonacic said, "I appreciate Bassett's willingness to step up and partner with the community to make this happen. I look forward to continuing to work to support the hospitals and nursing homes across Delaware County."