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ACLD eyes new Bethpage clinic and office

A leading supplier of services to people with developmental disabilities wants to build a health clinic and housing for the elderly in Bethpage, officials said last night.

Adults and Children with Learning & Developmental Disabilities Inc. (ACLD) hopes to build a 22,000-square-foot medical center and office building on South Oyster Bay Road. The clinic would address the growing need among its clientele for outpatient care for everything from seasonal ailments and minor injuries to reproductive health and dentistry, an ACLD executive said.

The clinic is part of an expansion project that also calls for renovations to two nearby buildings that are used for administration, day programs and health services for the developmentally disabled.

"There's a real need for services for this population," said ACLD director Aaron Liebowitz. "Doctors are sometimes hesitant to treat these individuals because their disability complicates care and most are on Medicaid," he said, referring to the health insurance program for the poor.

Nassau County endorsed the project last night by approving up to $22 million in bond financing, most of it exempt from taxes.

The county's Local Economic Assistance Corporation OKd an initial $12.2 million in tax-exempt bonds and $277,000 in taxable bonds for the purchase of 3.7 acres on South Oyster Bay Road and construction of the clinic. The money also will be used to upgrade the ACLD buildings at 807 and 837 South Oyster Bay Rd.

In addition to tax savings on the bonds, the assistance corporation waived $200,000 in mortgage recording tax. The corporation aides charities and other not-for-profit organizations that are important to the economy.

The ACLD project will create 24 jobs and move another 55 from Suffolk County to Nassau. The group currently employs 559 people in Nassau.

Founded in 1957, ACLD has operations in Bay Shore, Melville and Hauppauge. It hopes to someday build three group homes near the new Bethpage clinic for up to 24 senior citizens.

"People with developmental disabilities are living longer than ever before . . . our oldest resident is 91," Liebowitz told the assistance corporation. "We need to try to meet their needs."

Separately, the corporation gave final approval for up to $200 million in tax-exempt bonds for Catholic health care institutions.

The bonds will be used to refinance debt for Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage and the DeMatteis Center for Cardiac Research and Education in Greenvale.

The institutions are part of Catholic Health Services of Long Island, which last month received similar help from Suffolk for facilities there. In total, the two counties have OKd about $450 million in financing for the network of six hospitals, three nursing homes and other medical operations.

William Weir, a lawyer for Catholic Health Services, said the refinancing would save about $20 million a year that could then be used for paying bills and improvements to buildings and services.

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