For 35 years, New Haven Care Center in New Haven has been a focal point of the city.
It is a nonprofit, community-owned skilled nursing and assisted living facility that arose out of a strong desire to provide New Haven with a place for its elderly and others who couldn’t live on their own.
“A steering committee looked into the feasibility and a planning committee was established,” said NHCC board member Warren Bauche.
Dr. J. R. Knudsen, one of the planning committee members who later served on the board of trustees, came up with the idea that the care center should be community owned and not-for-profit.
“This corporation could raise money, but didn’t have the $250,000 needed for operating funds,” Bauche said.
So the facility was leased to a private entity, he said, which later almost caused it to go into foreclosure in 1990.
“We reorganized with different board members and were able to stop the foreclosure,” said Bauche, explaining the advantage of being a community-owned care center is there are no shareholders to which the board must be accountable.
“Every dime we make can be used to take care of the residents,” he said. “None of that money has to be paid to shareholders.”
Board member Gary Kuhn said the board has set up a blind trust for the facility to ensure the money goes back into the home.
“The board is not paid,” he said. “No one is reimbursed for any expenses. We set it up that way from Day 1.”
When the community gained control of New Haven Care, the 90-bed facility only had 38 beds filled. Today, the facility has 74 residents on the skilled nursing side and nine in assisted living, which the board added in 1993.
“These are our parents, grandparents . . . our family,” said New Haven Care Administrator Dottie Pataky.
There also was a doctor’s office within the facility, which today is a Mercy Clinic, and a rehabilitation facility.
New Haven Care Center is currently going through some changes with a project is under way to remodel and enlarge the kitchen and dining areas.
Pataky said she hopes the current renovations will open the door to give the entire facility a makeover.
Today, the facility has a five-star rating from the Department of Health and Senior Services.
“There are very few of these ratings given to nursing homes,” she said. “We’re pretty proud of that.”
Pataky said there are plans to celebrate the 35th anniversary, including an open house scheduled for Wednesday, June 26, from 1 to 5 p.m.