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New owner plans upgrades for Barnwell


VALATIE—The Barnwell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 3230 Church Street, the largest skilled nursing facility in Columbia County, has been sold to The Grand Healthcare System, a company based in Queens.

The Grand Healthcare closed on the purchase from Cassena Care, headquartered in Woodbury, December 7 and paid about $30 million for the six-story, 111,000 square-foot facility, The Grand Healthcare System’s Regional Vice President Bruce Gendron told The Columbia Paper this week.

The former Barnwell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Valatie has a new owner and a new name—The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell. Photo contributed

Barnwell is now one of nine healthcare facilities owned and operated by The Grand across the state.

The 236-bed skilled-nursing facility, which provides rehabilitation and nursing services to patients who require either short- or long-term nursing care following hospitalization, has been renamed The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell.

We are delighted to add Barnwell to our stable of properties. The skilled nursing facility is the largest of its kind in Columbia County and has a long and proud history,” The Grand Healthcare System CEO Jeremy B. Strauss said in a press release.

The Valatie facility had its “grand launch” Monday, December 11, said Mr. Gendron. New signage was brought in, lunch and new uniforms with The Grand’s branding were provided to employees and gift toiletries were given to the residents “to introduce ourselves and tell them about our mission and vision,” he said.

The Grand has hired Kinderhook resident Gary March as the facility’s administrator.

With facilities in Chittenango, Guilderland, Rome, Queens, Pawling, Whitestone, Poughkeepsie and Utica, Mr. Gendron said, The Grand has “a very strong regional team which will be there and available to support” the Valatie facility.

He also said The Grand has “a very good track record of acquiring distressed organizations and turning them around.”

According to a December 11 story by Claire Hughes in the Times Union, “the purchase continues The Grand’s practice of acquiring poorly performing nursing homes. The federal Medicare program gives the 236-bed Valatie nursing home a rating of one out of five stars, indicating that it is much below average on health, safety and quality inspections. The nursing home had an occupancy rate of 97% earlier this year, with need for more nursing home beds in the county, according to state Health Department documents.”

To find out about how Barnwell and other nursing homes/rehabilitation centers compare to each other visit the State Department of Health site:

The Grand plans renovations and physical improvements to residential and common areas at Barnwell, such as care, activity and dining rooms.

We are committed to elevating quality and access to care for local residents and plan to invest in significant upgrades to the facility’s resident living areas, common areas and rehabilitation rooms. Our aim is to create a facility where exceptional clinical care is coupled with a luxury experience for guests and their loved ones,” Mr. Gendron said in a press release.

Key to improving the facility’s performance, he said by phone, is providing staff education and the distribution of 1,000 new uniforms, to improve morale and help staff feel educated and look professional.

He said color-coded uniforms are not just about aesthetics but also assist residents and visitors to determine who is who should they need help.

The facility currently employs 400 people full- and part-time and will add additional staff members in the coming months, including dietary aides, certified nursing assistants, licensed nurses, registered nurses, and registered practical nurses.

Mr. Gendron said The Grand has invested in a full-time recruiter at the Valatie facility to focus efforts on the “challenge” of adding and retaining staff.

Valatie Mayor Diane Argyle said by phone this week that Barnwell is the biggest consumer of water and sewer services in the village. She said she was aware of the sale because the new owners had made inquiries about installing new signs and the new head of facility maintenance there had introduced himself to the Department of Public Works.

Kinderhook Town Supervisor Pat Grattan said that Gladys Steuerwald originally started Barnwell, so it’s considered “a hometown business.” The Steuerwalds were “great people and active in the community.” The supervisor said he hopes the new owner will continue in their footsteps.

The Steuerwalds founded Barnwell in 1940. They later leased and then sold the facility to Cassena Care about 10 years ago.

The Church Street facility provides comprehensive sub-acute, and long-term rehabilitation and nursing services. Barnwell also operates a 44-person adult daycare center that provides health and related services, as well as care and supervision for adults who require physical rehabilitation, dementia management or other condition-specific forms of assistance.

We are happy to be in the Valatie community,” said Mr. Gendron, noting that Barnwell has “nice potential.

Barnwell has been there for decades providing important health care services and we are proud and pleased to continue that tradition.”

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To contact Diane Valden email

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