Intervale Ave. nursing home closes its doors

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San Vicente de Paul Residence, a nursing home on Intervale Avenue in Longwood, has announced that it will close its doors. Because most of its patients are dependent on Medicaid, the 200-bed nursing home has accumulated a $7.5 million deficit.

San Vicente de Paul opened brand new in 1992 and is operated by ArchCare, the nursing home arm of the Archdiocese of New York. The six-story nursing home, built in Mediterranean style, boats a private garden and a bilingual staff. It offers rehab and recreation, pain management and radiology.

“I have three friends with parents [at San Vicente de Paul],” Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo said. “We will not let this happen.”

New York State has agreed to grant San Vicente de Paul $16.9 million toward the costs of closure, a Friday, September 25 letter from ArchCare administrators to residents and staff read. ArchCare has asked for more in order to reopen the ground floor of the nursing home as a day care clinic and build assisted senior housing on its parking lot.

The upper floors of the nursing home would also become assisted senior housing. The plan would allow San Vicente de Paul residents to stay put, the letter read. Community Board 2 district manager John Robert lamented the news but admitted that San Vicente de Paul is in trouble. ArchCare has yet to submit its assisted senior housing plan to CB2.

“No one can operate at that sort of deficit,” Robert said.

ArchCare will argue that a day care clinic would allow San Vicente de Paul to help more seniors, Robert added. But Catherine Vaccaro and other San Vicente de Paul residents require around-the-clock care. Vaccaro, 83, lived alone in Parkchester until open-heart surgery rendered her muscles useless, and is wheelchair bound.

“I found out [about the closure] on Friday and have been crying ever since,” Vaccaro said. “They want to throw us out in the street. I have no home to go to.”

Vaccaro was a nurse at Jacobi Medical Center for 27 years. Her nephew found Vaccaro a spot at the nursing home in 2008.

“San Vicente de Paul has been wonderful,” Vaccaro said. “I don’t understand why they want to close it down. I’m worried stiff. I don’t know what to do.”

Mildred Colon-Herlihy thinks the world of San Vicente de Paul and was surprised to hear it would close.

“My mother needs 24-hour care,” Mildred Colon-Herlihy said. “She thinks of San Vicente de Paul as her home. Why hasn’t [ArchCare] held fundraisers?”

ArchCare declined to comment on when it expects the nursing home to close and how it plans to use the $16.9 million. Residents have been told that San Vicente de Paul will close in 2011. Arroyo has heard that ArchCare will use $12 million of the $16.9 million to pay off bad debt.

“The plan is not a good plan,” Arroyo said. The councilwoman thinks ArchCare needs to retain at least some 24-hour beds. She, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Congressman Jose Serrano, Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Senator Ruben Diaz and Councilwoman Annabel Palma, who worked at San Vicente de Paul, are on the case, Arroyo said.

Updated 5:25 pm, October 21, 2011
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