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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's nursing home to close

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The nursing home in Gouverneur announced Tuesday it will close on May 7th. The facility has 40 beds. 22 patients currently live there. Rebecca Faber, spokesperson for the Kinney Nursing Home board of directors, says the facility faced "irreversible financial challenges". "There have been annual losses of an average of $208,000 per year over a ten-year period," Faber says. "It's just not sustainable any further."

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Reported by

David Sommerstein
Reporter/ Producer

About 35 union and at least 4 non-union workers will lose their jobs. Kathy Tucker is vice president of Service Employees International Union Local 1199.

“I know how our members feel about those residents,” Tucker says. “I know they’re going to be upset because they’re losing their jobs. But they’re more upset because the residents are losing their home.”

Kinney has been the subject of a series of complex ownership changes. Canton-Potsdam Hospital stepped in to oversee what was then E.J. Noble Hospital, including the nursing home, for several months after the state health department closed E.J. Noble's laboratory more than a year ago. In December, E.J. Noble was renamed Gouverneur Hospital, and a new parent company, St. Lawrence Health System, was created to operate both it and Canton-Potsdam Hospital. Gouverneur Hospital purchased the assets of E. J. Noble Hospital and the Kinney Nursing Home.

Tucker says she believes the new management hasn’t been acting in good faith with the closure plans.

“We’re dealing with a whole different group of people than we are accustomed to dealing with,” Tucker says.

A community task force has been fighting to keep the nursing home open since a closure plan was submitted to the state health department last December. Some people on that task force were upset with what they called an abrupt announcement.

Organizer Joan Eacker says the May 7th closing date is too soon to find housing and care for her 88-year-old mother.

“I mean, she’s cared for so many people, and had jobs, and been in civic organizations. And loved her life. And now they’re just dismissing it like it doesn’t matter,” Eacker says, "because power and money are more important right now than people. And taking that direction, we are going in the wrong path when we put human lives beneath that dollar sign.”

Eacker says the task force is talking about finding other senior care options in Governeur. She says Deputy Secretary of State and Governeur native Dede Scozzafava is involved in those talks. Eacker isn’t giving up yet.  

“I’m still hopeful that our community can find value for our senior citizens. And we will come up with some sort of housing and care for them, and value their lives. I’m still hopeful that we can come up with that. I’m just very disappointed that the hospital administration doesn’t see that value to life,” she says.

Spokesperson Rebecca Faber says the nursing home management has already begun meeting with residents and their families to find them new care. She says Kinney is working with United Helpers, based in Canton, to help them make those arrangements.

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