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ATCNRC allows local woman to return home

NORTHCREEK-Walter Wajda of Johnsburg drove nearly two hours to a nursing home in Albany several times a week to visit his wife, Anna, while she was living there. He did so for four and a half years.

Now, Wajda only needs to cross town to see his wife, who today resides at the Adirondack Tri-County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (ATCNRC) home.

"It was the best thing that ever happened to us," he said of Anna's move back to Johnsburg, their home of nearly 50 years. "This place is the Taj-Mahal compared to the rest."

While many praise the local facility, it has struggled to keep 100 percent occupancy, and saw 10 empty beds during the month of January. Administrator, Hal Payne, hopes that their dedication to creating an environment much like the tight communities of local towns will help fill those beds.

Current cuts in Medicaid funding, however, is a big concern, he said. The bulk of the facility's funding comes from Medicaid and 66 percent of their residents rely on that funding to pay for their stay. That funding will see a $430,000 cut this year and an anticipated $600,000 cut next year, Payne said.

"We want to make local resident aware of all that we do here," he said. "And that a drive to Glens Falls for short or long-term care, therapy, etc. is not necessary - it's all right here."

Wajda's wife has been at ATCNRC for close to six months after a long battle to find a facility that would accept her and after two years when he cared for her himself in their home. Since her arrival, she has made remarkable improvements, according to Payne.

"She is happy here," Wajda said. "It's obvious that this is run like a family business."

Payne prides himself on carrying the closeness of the local communities over into the atmosphere at ATCNRC in order to ease the transition from independent to assisted living.

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