Andes Health Care Clinic set to open in March

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By Joe Moskowitz
The wait for the long-awaited Andes Health Clinic is going to be a little longer. Workers this week are putting the final touches on both the interior and exterior of the 2,800-square-foot facility.
Town of Andes Code Enforcement Officer and Building Inspector Arthur Short says the final inspection for the structure was scheduled for the middle of this week and some of the workers told the Catskill Mountain News that the hospital was aiming for a March 5 opening, but Michael Howard, facilities manager for O’Connor Hospital in Delhi says at this point there is no definite opening date, other than it will take place sometime in March.

This is not the first delay. The first delay was caused the Town Andes Panning Board, and the others by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and then the State of New York. When first announced, work was to have begun in July 2012 with the opening in September 2012. Then, the target date was moved to January 2013.

Location questioned
There were also questions as whether it should have been built there at all.. It is located next to Ballantine Park on county Route 1 in the hamlet of Andes. Among those who felt it was a bad location was Wayne Reynolds, the Delaware County Public Works Commissioner. He thought there was a risk of flood damage at that location. The building is not in the flood plain, but the land upon which it is built was under water during Hurricane Irene. Short says Reynolds’ concerns are valid, but says steps have been taken to reduce the chances of future flood damage, including raising the level of the land by about three feet. Flood gates were also built into the foundation to prevent water from coming into the building in case of high water.

When the doors eventually open, patients will be rewarded for their patience. When it is ready, O’Connor, which is part of the Bassett Hospital Health Network, will turn the keys over to Bassett. In addition to the options provided by those medical centers, the Andes facility will offer a wide range of in-house services. There will be six people on staff, including former Margaretville Memorial Hospital physician, Dr. Susan Fiore.

Howard says Bassett has been considering opening a clinic in Andes for several years, and in just a short, time it will become a reality.