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URMC, St. John’s partnering to tackle shortage in hospital, nursing home space



Rochester, New York – A significant scarcity of space in hospitals and nursing homes is being addressed by a partnership between two local healthcare organizations.

There don’t seem to be enough rooms to accommodate all of the patients, not just in Rochester.
Waiting a long time for a nursing home bed to become available just adds to the difficulty of moving a loved one into a nursing home.

“It is really rewarding for the staff to be able to help families who have been waiting,” said Charlie Runyon, president and CEO of St. John’s, a senior living and care organization in Rochester. “Some folks wait for months to get in a nursing home bed.”

Runyon anticipates that the recently announced collaboration between St. John and the University of Rochester Medical Center would help reduce the overcrowding at both the Highland and Strong Memorial hospitals.

“It was pretty apparent that they had a real need for nursing home placement,” said Runyon. “We had the opportunity because we had vacant floors and empty rooms.”

Strong’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, Kathy Parrinello, describes the “dramatic need” for nursing care placements.

“Many patients who have experienced care in our emergency department, they know that they often wait in hallways or in special areas that are somewhat crowded,” said Parrinello. “At Strong and Highland alone, we have anywhere from 100 to 110 patients between the two hospitals. Generally, 80 at Strong and 20-30 at Highland waiting for nursing home placements.”

A pediatric skilled unit and a dialysis unit are among the long-term goals for this arrangement, according to Runyon.

“Those kids who are on ventilators and really have a need, or are in the hospital waiting for placement, now don’t have to move out of town for that placement,” said Runyon. “They can stay right here in Rochester. And for those families who have those children who have those needs, it will be huge for them to stay in town.”

The transition has started after the agreement was signed.

We have been informed that St. John’s and URMC will continue to function as distinct, stand-alone organizations.