Saturday March 16, 2013

ZEKE WRIGHT

Staff Writer

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- Village trustees agreed to defer repayment of an outstanding loan following a request last month from the Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation at Hoosick Falls, formerly known as the Hoosick Falls Health Center.

The health center received the loan in 1995 totaling approximately $400,000 for an expansion and improvement project, from funds originally obtained through a Community Development Block Grant. The nursing and rehabilitation center has been repaying the amount ever since, with that money being pooled into a village economic development fund, but in February representatives from the center petitioned Hoosick Falls officials for a reprieve.

The terms agreed to by village board members this past Tuesday include deferring this year's scheduled payment, a waiving of interest on the balance of the loan, and the option of restructuring the remaining balance over a longer time frame. Under the original terms including interest, the center's remaining balance would have been paid off over the next five years.

Laura Reynolds, the center's chief financial officer, thanked the board for their assistance Tuesday. The month before, Reynolds along with members of the center's board made their plea, based on larger changes with the health care system and the center's ability to respond to those changes.

Edward Gorman, the center's board president, said the center was operating at about 95 percent capacity, but an even more positive development financially was the increasing shift toward providing rehabilitation services as opposed to nursing care. "Nursing homes have felt a very hard crunch," Reynolds said at the February board meeting.

"Forgiveness of this loan ... is an investment in the center," Gorman told village officials Feb. 12. As a nonprofit, the fully licensed 82-bed facility is "owned by this community," he said.

In a letter to village leaders, health center representatives cited unforeseen expenditures including the installation of a new building-wide sprinkler system, currently underway. And a recent state Department of Health annual health survey -- an audit of care that determines aid per patient -- resulted in cuts that Gorman called "frustrating."

Gorman said an outside consultant determined the center was on the right track, but "we need to be ready for changes down the road," he said.

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