Centre Commissioners donate $500,000 to new health care facility

PHOTO PROVIDED Centre County Commissioners Michael Pipe, Mark Higgins and Steven Dershem present a donation of $500,000 to Betsy Boyer, Centre Care’s board president, toward the nonprofit’s effort to build the county’s newest state-of-the-art health center.

BELLEFONTE– Centre County Commissioners presented a check for $500,000 to Centre Care on Friday as a donation to the nonprofit’s effort to build the county’s newest state-of-the-art health center.

Centre Care, the nonprofit that currently operates Centre Crest in Bellefonte, plans to open a new 240-bed nursing facility on the Benner Pike in 2020.

“The Board of Commissioners is honored to assist in the future growth of Centre Crest. The transition to a new, modernized facility will serve the residents of Centre County for generations to come. The $500,000 county contribution is presented in memory of all those who have and will need care from the Centre Crest team,” Commissioner Michael Pipe said.

Commissioner Pipe attended the presentation with Commissioners Mark Higgins and Steven Dershem.

The generous donation is another step in a journey that began in 2013, when the county-which owned and operated Centre Crest since 1938-transitioned ownership of the facility to Centre Care. In its first year after the transition, the nonprofit turned around the business and has operated in the black every year since.

“We are thrilled and grateful with the county’s support of our campaign to ensure high quality, affordable, healthcare for all Centre County residents,” Betsy Boyer, Centre Care’s Board President, said. “With their generous gift, we are well on our way to reach our goal.”

In August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a $34 million construction loan for the new health center. However, it requires Centre Care to raise an additional $6 million for the project. A fundraising campaign was kicked off in November and, to date, the campaign has raised more than $3.1 million.

The state-of-the-art health center will offer traditional long-term care, as well as three specialty neighborhoods that are in high demand for Centre County residents-a high acuity neighborhood, for patients with complex medical conditions; a memory care neighborhood of which there are few in the area; and a short-term rehabilitation neighborhood. According to research, the demand for nursing, personal care and memory care for those older than 85 in Central Pennsylvania will increase 6 percent by 2020 and even more in the following decades.

The new facility will also be the largest of just three Centre County nursing facilities licensed to accept Medicaid insurance. The site also has room to grow and expanded services in the future.

To donate or learn more, visit www.centrecare.org.