Submitted by Howard B. Owens on August 7, 2014 - 11:34am
In a move that will make it possible for the county to sell its nursing home, the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday approved a resolution declaring the facility "surplus property."
The nursing home is running at an annual deficit of $4 million and the state is doing everything it can, according to legislators, to ensure it continues operating at a loss so it will be sold.
County Legislature Chairman Ray Cianfrini said the county really has no choice but to sell the nursing home.
The county approached UMMC about buying the nursing home and the hospital's board had no interest in acquiring it.
The county also sent out at least 30 letters, Cianfrini said, to nonprofit agencies to see if any of them wanted to run it and there were no affirmative responses.
"We're pretty much down to our last option, which is to see if there's interest from a for-profit group that would want to buy our facility," Cianfrini said.
A private company would receive higher Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, be able to reduce personnel expenses (potentially, no union, and lower pension costs), accept a wider variety of patients, thereby increasing revenue, and seek other money-making opportunities not available to a government agency.
If the county keeps the nursing home, or is unable to sell it, the burden on local taxpayers is only expected to grow as the state cuts off just about all of the remaining subsidies it provides to the county to help maintain the nursing home.
Cattaraugus and Orleans counties recently successfully sold their nursing homes, Cianfrini said, so the legislature is hopeful the same thing will happen here.
"We're looking at it from the standpoint that it's fiscally irresponsible for us to try to continue to operate it," Cianfrini said.