Lorien breaks ground for $9.5 million center in Havre de Grace

Lorien Health Systems has broken ground on a new 78-bed nursing and rehabilitation center near Havre de Grace's Bulle Rock Golf Course and expects to have the $9.5 million facility open by spring of 2013.

James Forsyth, regulatory counsel for Mangione Family Enterprises, which owns Lorien, said the facility will provide a focus on short-term, rehabilitative stays, with skilled nursing care that is hard to find in the area outside of a hospital setting.

Construction was launched in February on the two-story building on 4.5 acres along Route 40 by Blenheim Lane, the main entrance to Bulle Rock's famed golf course.

The building will be perpendicular to Route 40, with access to a small parking lot off of the highway, Forsyth said.

The 39,000-square-foot nursing home is the first phase of the project.

An assisted living facility with 40 to 60 units is also expected to be built in a second phase, but Forsyth said that would not move forward for several years.

"The assisted living will depend on what we think is appropriate for the market," he said.

An assisted living facility is almost identical to a continuing-care retirement facility, Forsyth said, except it has "no large admission fee."

A planned continuing-care community by Presbyterian Home of Maryland was engulfed in controversy in nearby Aberdeen after the owner tried and failed to get a property tax breaks. The developer abandoned the project but has continued looking at sites elsewhere in Harford, outside municipal borders.

Lorien's nursing home will include the state license for 18 beds salvaged from an Upper Chesapeake Health unit that was shut down at Harford Memorial Hospital, Forsyth said.

It will also include an eight-bed medical specialty unit (MSU) to care for people who may be on a ventilator or have other special respiratory needs, he said.

Forsyth said although Lorien is geared toward the elderly, it does not have a minimum age for admission and could theoretically take in a young adult who was in a serious accident and needed special ventilator services, for example.

"It's a great community resource in a relatively small facility. The facility is not some large, institutional behemoth," Forsyth said. "It's designed to offer the community a continuum of services on one site. This is not a traditional nursing home."

The project was approved by the Maryland Health Care Commission in April 2009, according to a staff report from the commission. The facility was originally proposed to have three levels and 31,392 square feet, at a total cost of $9.3 million.

Lorien has a nursing care and rehab facility in Riverside, a few miles south of Aberdeen, as well as one in Bel Air.

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