Senator Michelle Hinchey Secures Vital Funding to Address Dementia Care in the Mohawk Valley

Michelle Hinchey

July 28, 2021

Senator Michelle Hinchey visits Valley Residential Services on Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Pictured: Senator Michelle Hinchey, Lisa Betrus, President of Valley Health Services (VHS); Connie A. Jastremski, Board Chair, VHS and Tommy Ibrahim, CEO Bassett Healthcare Network.
Senator Hinchey Announces $500,000 in State Budget Funding to Build New State-of-the-Art Skilled Nursing Facility Set to Deliver Unmet Local Need for Dementia Care

MOHAWK VALLEY, NY – New York State Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46) today announced that she has secured critical funding for dementia-related care at Valley Health Services, Inc. (VHS) in the 2021 State Budget. The funding, totaling $500,000, will enable VHS, a subsidiary of the Bassett Healthcare Network, to help fund the construction of a skilled nursing facility that will address current gaps in care for patients with dementia-related needs. Once constructed, the state-of-the-art facility will become the only provider of comprehensive neurobehavioral care in the Mohawk Valley and Capital Region.

The vision for the new facility is to move from traditional, institutional care for those requiring 24-hour skilled nursing services to a residential model that promotes dignity, family engagement, and independence. The facility will include 160-beds with two 20-bed units dedicated exclusively to neurobehavioral and memory care. VHS will retain 250 full-time employees while creating 9 new highly-skilled full-time positions.

“As someone who has cared for a parent with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), I understand the heartbreaking journey and persistent struggle to find high-quality, specialized care in upstate New York. These types of devastating diseases affect not only those diagnosed, but those who love them, and one of my top priorities will always be to support the continued innovation of senior care so that no family is forced to navigate a complicated healthcare maze on their own,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey.

“Across rural and upstate New York, people are living in healthcare deserts — left without the skilled care they need and deserve, especially in the sector of long-term care. But Valley Health Services, a shining light in the world of senior care, is working diligently and creatively to close the gaps in long-term living opportunities, promote future planning, and deliver specialized neurological and memory care.

"I’m incredibly proud to have been able to secure funds in the state budget to support their efforts to create a new state-of-the-art residential facility that will serve residents across the Mohawk and Capital Regions — two regions that are severely underserved. No one should have to send their loved one hours away, or even out of state, to receive the care they need, which is why the work of Valley Health Services is so important. This fight is personal to me, and I will always work to close the inequities in our health and long-term care systems so that everyone in New York State can live and age with dignity.” 

“We, along with the residents of our region, are grateful to Senator Hinchey for her unwavering support of our vision to provide high-quality skilled nursing care while maintaining the dignity and independence of our residents,” said Lisa Betrus, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer for Bassett Healthcare Network. “Once constructed, our new skilled nursing facility will address the region’s unmet need for dementia care, subacute care, and neurobehavioral care, allowing individuals to stay in the community as they age and their care needs advance. We are proud that our neurobehavioral care unit will address the complex needs of an especially vulnerable elderly population that is underserved in virtually every part of the state.”

Senator Hinchey visited the Valley Residential Services facility in Herkimer, New York on Tuesday, July 13, to announce the funding alongside members of the Bassett Healthcare Network and VHS leadership teams.