Centers Health Care adds new member to the Skilled Nursing Facility family

Cooperstown Center is now a Centers Health Care facility

- January 17, 2018

As featured in The Daily Star

Focus Otsego nursing home has officially been taken over by Centers Health Care and will now be known as the Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, a spokesperson for Centers confirmed Tuesday.

The Bronx-based company also purchased Focus' location in Utica, and the companies entered into an agreement nine months ago allowing Centers to provide consulting services during the transition.

Patient satisfaction was high when the facility off of state Route 28 south of Cooperstown was owned by the county, but the facility — then known as Otsego Manor — needed a $5 million to $6 million subsidy from the county each year. It was sold in 2014 despite strong local opposition to the Focus Family of Companies for $18.5 million.

Focus cut the staff of the nursing home from 298 to 225 employees, and was beset with patient-care issues and regulatory inspections in its time running the facility. Four employees were fired after a 94-year-old woman was left without care during Memorial Day Weekend. They were arrested on criminal charges and later pleaded to lesser counts in Otsego Town Court.

Late in 2016, Focus Otsego was designated one of the worst nursing homes in the state and put on probation by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on a recommendation from the state Department of Health. An $18,000 fine was also imposed by the DOH for violations.

Those issues contributed to the decision to sell the facility, Focus chief executive officer Joseph Zupnik told former Otsego County Rep. Katherine Stuligross, who headed up the 2014 sale. Stuligross told The Daily Star that he said he agreed with the DOH description of Centers as the “gold standard” in the state.

“It has become increasingly difficult for operators of just one or two nursing facilities to compete economically in the current health care environment,” Zupnik said in a media release announcing the sale.

Officials said in April that Focus Otsego had 173 residents in its 174 beds, and 225 employees. A Centers spokesperson said Tuesday that all leadership staff and employees have been retained, and that the facility will keep its capacity the same.

Centers Health Care is the largest post-acute health care continuum in the Northeast, with 42 nursing and rehab facilities across New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. It also operates two assisted-living programs and a managed long-term care company. The company will continue both Utica's adult day health care and Otsego's long-term home health care programs.

The purchase expands the company's presence in upstate New York to 19 nursing and rehab facilities, according to a media release. Centers acquired seven facilities in the central and eastern part of the state from Capital Living in September.

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