The New York Department of Health last week announced that it would provide $250 million in grants to medical centers and nursing homes to reorient services toward primary care.

The grants will be paid out of the state’s general fund, which will be reimbursed through proceeds from personal income tax bonds sold by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.

Health Department spokeswoman Claudia Hutton said the grants will represent “Berger part two,” referring to the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, also known as the Berger Commission. The commission mandated downsizings, consolidations, and closures at 80 medical facilities and nursing homes in the state in 2006 in order to cut down on overcapacity and to shift services toward preventive care.

The new grants, part of the Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers, also known as HEAL-NY, are not for mandated changes but are meant to provide incentives to expand care and programs that reduce the need for inpatient care in hospitals and nursing homes. Medical centers and nursing homes have to apply for the grants.

“The Berger Commission recognized that downsizing had to be followed with financial support to the remaining providers — our coverage partners — to help them serve patients and clients in those areas,” said health commissioner Richard Daines. “This new funding complements the grants made to facilities subject to commission mandates.”

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