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Valley Health Services Addresses Local Aging Crisis

Valley Health Services (VHS) celebrated the upcoming construction of a new assisted living facility complete with an integrated center for health care worker training at a groundbreaking ceremony on September 27th.  According to Lisa Betrus, CEO/Administrator of VHS, “This facility is a bold first step in addressing the two great demands of our area’s aging crisis; a safe, comfortable place to live for those who need assistance and certified health care workers to serve the 16.5% of our population which is already over the age of 65.”  The facility will also have a strong economic impact on our area creating a minimum of 27 new jobs while providing professional training for countless others.

Baby Boomers, 65 and older, will grow from 16.5% to more than 25% of our area’s population in the next 17 years.  This new facility proactively addresses the increasing demand for local, long-term care facilities and a health care workforce, which nationally needs to add 6.1 million workers by 2018.

The new Living and Learning Community will feature 46 studio apartments with multi-purpose rooms, an activity room and a laboratory/classroom for the education of the health care workers.  Filling a major gap in the range of long-term care services offered in Herkimer County, the complex will promote independence for older adults with limited financial resources who might otherwise not receive services or move into a much more costly skilled-nursing facility.

Front entrance to assisted living facility

“The preliminary groundwork for this assisted living project actually began a number of years ago,” according to Marguerite Lynch, President of the VHS Board of Directors.  “In keeping with our mission, we are committed to this project which completes the continuum of long term care services for our area.  Plans are to open our doors in July of 2014.”

The 220-acre site of the new complex is on Pine Grove Road in East Herkimer.  Ms. Betrus explains, “The site is perfect for the assisted living building which is designed to reflect an Adirondack ambience.  There are open fields, woods and a pond, all contributing to the serene setting.  Residents will have access to personal care, room and board, housekeeping, personal emergency response services, nursing care, physical, occupational and speech therapies, medical supplies and equipment and case management services.”

Kathy Eisenhut, VHS Assistant Administrator, clarifies the workforce education aspect of the project.  “Every year approximately 48 students will receive the education necessary to be certified as Home Health Aides and Certified Nursing Assistants.  VHS has a history of partnering with area providers of health care education and serves as a clinical rotation site for students.  All local teaching institutions will be encouraged to use the new training center to enhance their geriatric and health care course work.”

VHS is recognized for the quality of the services it provides having recently been awarded the highest rating, five stars, from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and was recently named one of the top nursing homes in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Valley Health Services, an affiliate of Bassett Healthcare Network since 1986, provides long term, sub-acute, and palliative care to the largely rural population of the Mohawk Valley in central New York. It is a licensed Article 28, privately owned, not-for-profit organization governed by a ten-member board.  Throughout its long association with Bassett Healthcare Network, VHS has had a rich history of assessing and meeting the needs of area residents. Bringing assisted living to those in the region is the next step in the VHS legacy.

Site Groundbreaking Photos:

At a Glance: Valley Health Services project addresses Aging Crisis

  • 16.5% of Herkimer County’s population is 65 years of age and older; by 2030, this will increase to 25%
  • VHS will open doors in July 2014 to a new assisted living facility containing 46 studio apartments, offering personal assistance, housekeeping, nursing care, rehabilitation therapies, medical supplies, meals, maintenance
  • The health care workforce development component will educate approximately 48 students annually as Certified Nursing Assistants and Home Health Aides
  • The project creates a minimum of 27 new jobs


For additional information, contact Director of Social Services Jennifer Miller at (315) 866-3330, extension 2298.

Studio Apartment View.

Facility floor plan
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