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Emerald South nursing home closing, after patient falls to his death

Michael Mroziak

The troubled Emerald South nursing home on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo is being closed after a series of problems, including the June 4 death of a patient. The long and tangled process to move as many residents into the Emerald North facility is in the works.

There were so many problems at the facility that Albany called in the New York City-based Grand Healthcare System to take over as receiver of the facility. After looking over the situation the last couple of weeks, Grand Healthcare is shutting it down with the full cooperation of the State Health Department. The company saying the closing will "further protect the health and safety of residents," although the date isn't known.

"This is a bear of a task. We're very happy to help in the situation and be part of it and again right this ship, but we want to work in concert with the Department of Health. We want in concert with the families, with the residents, with the staff," said Business Development Director Jay Lawrence. "We are extremely sensitive to the collective needs of these people as part of our family, now and as part of the Greater Buffalo community."

The plan is to fill available beds at Emerald North, which is being renamed Buffalo Community Healthcare Center, and hire as many Emerald South workers as possible. Lawrence said they found serious problems at Emerald South.

"The buildings have been remiss in certain aspects with respect to materials and tools that folks have needed to provide the right kind of care, at least to our standards, collective standards," Lawrence said, "The ultimate feeling by the Department of Health in terms of this closure process is that to consolidate and move into one building will support the needs."

Lawrence said there have been significant building repairs in the new location and workers have been supplied with what is needed for patient care. He said that was not always available before. Who will eventually own Buffalo Community Healthcare is a decision, he said, is down the line.

Even though residents are being moved to Emerald North, Lawrence said there are significant problems there, as well. However, he promised resolution.

"There were several gaping holes within both buildings that we have taken care of in the short term we have been here," said Lawrence. So with respect to paint and fixtures, I think that there have been several pressing issues that we have dealt with and we will continue to work with them, one at a time, until this particular building, Emerald North or Buffalo Community Healthcare Center, is able to provide exemplary care."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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