The McGuire Group announced Thursday that Harris Hill Nursing Facility in Williamsville is now exclusively taking care of residents sick with COVID-19.
Any COVID-19-positive residents at McGuire’s other four Western New York nursing homes were transferred last week to Harris Hill, while any non-COVID residents at Harris Hill were transferred out to other McGuire nursing homes where the novel coronavirus has been eradicated, said McGuire spokesperson Dawn Harsch in an email.
She added that appropriate family members were contacted prior to their loved one’s being moved.
This decision, Harsch said, is in accordance with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent mandate that hospitals can no longer discharge COVID-19 patients to nursing homes, but must instead keep the patients or discharge them to a COVID-19-only facility.
That May 11 mandate was a reversal of an earlier, widely criticized March 25 state mandate that said nursing homes must accept COVID-19 patients from hospitals.
“As regulations continue to change, clinicians and administration at The McGuire Group’s facilities work proactively to ensure the health and safety of our residents and employees,” Harsch said, adding this was done with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
This isn’t McGuire’s first COVID-19-only facility. The company and Catholic Health collaborated on opening the St. Joseph Post-Acute Care Center last month. That facility, located in the now-closed Absolut Care nursing home in Orchard Park, takes care of COVID-19 patients discharged from Catholic Health hospitals.
Harsch confirmed Thursday that some McGuire nursing home residents have also been taken to the St. Joseph Post-Acute Care Center over the last month.
Other nursing home chains have created separate COVID-19 units within their facilities. Elderwood at Amherst transformed its 22-bed rehabilitation wing into a wing exclusively for recovering COVID-19 hospital patients in March.
At least 21 residents have died of COVID-19 at Harris Hill, a 192-bed facility, according to the latest state data. That’s the third-most in Western New York, behind only Father Baker Manor (54) and Absolut Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing at Aurora Park (28).
Harris Hill, as well as McGuire’s four other local nursing homes, are all rated five stars by the federal government, meaning much above average.