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The former E.J. Noble Hospital and Kinney Nursing Home. Last year, Canton-Potsdam Hospital purchased the assets of both. Photo via <a href="http://www.fdrhpo.org/health-care-services/ej-noble/">Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization</a>
The former E.J. Noble Hospital and Kinney Nursing Home. Last year, Canton-Potsdam Hospital purchased the assets of both. Photo via Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization

Gouverneur residents fight possible nursing home closure

Kinney Nursing home in Gouverneur may close. The state health department is reviewing a closure plan submitted in late December. If the state approves the plan, then the nursing home could close within 90 days. That doesn't sit well with some Gouverneur residents, who are organizing to try and keep the nursing home open.

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Reported by

Sarah Harris
Reporter and Producer

There are 40 beds in Kinney nursing home. About two dozen of them are occupied, one by Joan Eacker's 88-year-old mother, whose daughter says she's "crushed. She just keeps praying every day, they're not going to close, they're not going to close, because I can't go anywhere.' She doesn't want to believe it, she just keeps crying a lot."

Eacker is a retired teacher. She says the nursing home is a big part of Gouverneur community life:

"This is where those residents have grown up, paid their taxes, had their job, love their community and now we're just saying 'we can't afford to have you in your home town please, shoo shoo, go somewhere else.'"

Eacker other concerned family members hope to rally their community and legislators to keep the nursing home open. So far 582 supporters have signed a petition on change.org. Eaker says, ultimately, the group would like to take its message to Albany: "There's always all this money for grants that do big highways and this and that – can't these little communities have some funds for a place for people who need that nursing care?"

In December, Canton-Potsdam Hospital purchased the assets of E.J. Noble Hospital, and Kinney Nursing Home. Both had been operating at a loss. A new entity, Gouverneur Hospital, emerged.

Hospital spokesperson Rebecca Faber said yesterday via email that Kinney nursing home staff and administration will continue to provide quality care to residents. The hospital would not comment on the closure while the plan is pending with the state.

Ron McDougall is mayor of Gouverneur. He says that while the nursing home has been financially troubled for a long time, it's also filled a community need. And that need will continue, nursing home or not:

"We want to have some sort of a plan or a concerted effort to have long range care for our elderly people who can no longer care for themselves."

Nursing home supporters will speak at tonight's village board meeting. That's at 7 p.m., in the courtroom of the municipal building.

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