Alzheimer center plan reduced Limiting the scale could halt legal challenge

September 13, 1992|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

Developers of a planned center for Alzheimer's disease victims in Sykesville are dramatically reducing the size of the center, a move that is expected to allow them to avoid a legal challenge from a nearby nursing home.

The Western Maryland Health Planning Agency (WMHPA) is scheduled to consider a proposal Wednesday from Episcopal Health Ministries Inc. to scale back the planned Alzheimer's disease center from 165 to 66 beds.

The change may cause Sykesville Eldercare Center to drop its request for a hearing before a state health agency, an attorney for the nursing home said last week.

"I haven't reviewed what they've filed yet, but I'm hopeful that it would cause Sykesville Eldercare to be less concerned and we would withdraw our application [for a hearing]," said attorney Howard L. Sollins.

Sykesville Eldercare asked the Maryland Health Resources Planning Commission two months ago to conduct a hearing similar to a court hearing before voting on the planned center.

The center had won WMHPA approval before being referred to the state agency.

Attorney Melanie Anson, who represents EHM, refused to say whether the scaled-back plan stemmed from an agreement between her client and Sykesville Eldercare.

"At this point in time, I am not at liberty to discuss that agreement or even whether an agreement has been resolved," she said.

The Alzheimer's center is planned on the grounds of Fairhaven, an upscale retirement community and nursing care complex at the northern edge of Sykesville.

Sykesville Eldercare, a nursing home on nearby Second Avenue, contended that the Alzheimer's center proposed more beds than the 33 that the state says are needed in Carroll County and that the proposal failed to take into account the possible adverse effect on other county nursing homes.

Margaret Clime, a health planning analyst for the Western Maryland review agency, said EHM's proposed reduction was not suggested by either her agency or the state commission.

"Rather than go through evidentiary hearings and delay the project, they [EHM] have apparently reached a compromise with Sykesville Eldercare," she said.

"Personally, I preferred -- and I think our agency would have preferred -- the original application."

Ms. Clime said she didn't anticipate any opposition to the revised plan from WMHPA governing body members at Wednesday's meeting, because the only changes are the reduction in size and a cutback from five proposed "respite care" beds to one.

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