New York State has approved MVHS' application of a Certificate of Need (CON) to build a new hospital and healthcare campus.

Mohawk Valley Health System President and CEO Scott Perra made the announcement late Thursday afternoon, after spending most of the day in Albany, and called it a 'very, very important step' in the process.

It allows the hospital to move forward with finalizing design of the new downtown hospital, continuation and completion of the New York State Environmental Quality review (SEQR) process, and to complete acquisition of impacted properties in the downtown hospital footprint, he said.

The approval came from the state Health Department's full Public Health and Health Planning Council.

But it comes with contingencies, Perra added.

''There's a list of contingencies, but no surprises in there. They're the same contingencies we've been talking to the health department about all along. One of the contingencies is we've got to make sure our financing is done - we're working on that right now. [It's] a little bit of a Catch-22 for us because the financing companies that we're talking to want to know we've got Certificate of Need approval before they finalize the financing with us. So, this step allow us to put together and close up some of those contingencies,'' Perra said.

Once all contingencies are met, the CON could be finalized, he said.

Also, Perra noted there would be another Certificate of Need submitted to New York State in the future that would involve officially merging St. Elizabeth Medical Center and Faxton-St Luke's Healthcare.

Property Acquisition Update

Additionally, MVHS officials updated their standing in negotiations with the 35 property owners who control a total of 72 affected parcels of land in hospital footprint. The number of owners who have completed, or are in the process of completing a signed, purchase-option agreement now stands at ten (up from eight).

There are 17 who are in 'active negotiation' with the hospital system, Perra said.

Five have not responded to MVHS, and three have indicated they do not want to make a deal.

It is likely that the properties owned by those three will have to be acquired via eminent domain, Perra said.