Emerald South Nursing Home to Close After Slew of Scandals

November 13, 2018

By Alex Haight, City of Buffalo

The New York State Department of Health appointed The Grand Healthcare System to operate Emerald North and Emerald South Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers on October 29th.

Monday, Grand Healthcare Director of Business Development Jay Lawrence said Emerald South will close its doors.

"We did not do this alone. We worked hand-in-hand with the state, and it was ultimately decided that this was best for everybody involved to move in this direction," Lawrence said.

Lawrence said they plan to move as many residents and staff as possible to Emerald North, which is now known as Buffalo Community Healthcare Center.

SEIU 1199 Vice President Todd Hobler says his union represents about 80 employees at Emerald South. He says Grand Healthcare staff told him that they will help put together a job fair for employees who don't transfer to Emerald North. Hobler says he's confident that employees will be taken care of.

"We've also had a number of 1199 employers, nursing home operators locally who have said to us that they would be happy to hire those Emerald South employees," Hobler said.

Emerald South was plagued by several scandals before it was put into receivership.

In 2016, 82-year-old resident Ruth Murray died after she was assaulted by another patient. This summer, 87-year-old William Stranser died after falling from a third floor window. Hobler says he believes past issues, combined with a long list of needed capital improvements led to the decision to close Emerald South.

"The best solution, given all of the circumstances, was to consolidate the work at Emerald North," Hobler said.

Lawrence says Grand Healthcare ordered a shipment of automated adjustable beds Monday for Emerald North.

"The buildings both had crank beds, if you can envision hand-crank beds for the residents to with crank themselves or have staff crank them," Lawrence said.

Lawrence says Grand Healthcare is committed to providing the right resources, training, and support for the staff and a great environment for residents.

Hobler says the transition from Emerald South to Emerald North should be complete within 90 days.