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Study of nursing home's future is on schedule, says county manager

By Howard B. Owens

An outside consultant's ongoing study of what Genesee County should do with its nursing home is proceeding as planned and on schedule, according to County Manager Jay Gsell.

The point needed to be made, Gsell said, because as the Center for Governmental Research works through its interviews, researchers are encountering questions and rumors about the status of the report.

The rumors have been as wild as suggesting that the county is looking at purchasing UMMC, which Gsell said isn't going to happen.

To remind everybody what CGR is up to, Gsell issued a "status report" to the local media today.

Full report after the jump:

The due diligence process focused on the future fiscal and operational viability of the Genesee County Nursing Home is continuing on schedule with an expected comprehensive report by the Center for Governmental Research (CGR), the outside consultant retained by the county earlier this year, to be delivered in September or October 2010.

Over the past four months CGR has engaged a broad cross section of county legislators and management staff; nursing home administration, staff and local union representatives; residents and their family members; nursing home contracted service providers and community healthcare professionals and business representatives in their fact-gathering and opinion-seeking process.

CGR conversations are also anticipated with the New York State Department of Health’s regional and state representatives as part of their review and development of the options for the long-term future of the county’s 240-bed nursing home and related services environment. This includes a detailed analysis of a variety of historical financial and descriptive data about the Genesee County Nursing Home and its various component programs and services.

Possible long-range options include:

  • Continued county ownership and operation as a county department;

  • Continued county ownership and operation as a county department with significant fiscal and operational changes;

  • Solicit through a Request for Proposal for a contract with a third party for management, operation and streamlining of facility costs;

  • Or solicit through a Request for Proposal process potential alternative ownership and/or operational agreements.

Closure is not an option being considered by the county, and all of the above options would include the ultimate goal of ensuring that the long-term institutional care needs of a diverse group of Genesee County residents are met.

The county’s commitment to quality care and a pleasant living and working environment for years to come is evidenced by the debt obligations and facility improvements it continues to make on behalf of the nursing home.

A significant capital investment was made in the facility in 2000 and capital investments continue today with necessary infrastructure projects such as roof replacement and reconnection to the National Grid electric services.

These investments are being made in spite of ongoing and projected $1 to $3 million-plus annual operating deficits and the state and federal governments’ continued capping or reducing daily reimbursement rates under Medicare and Medicaid.

The engagement of CGR as an outside, neutral expert in researching and profiling alternatives to the current deficit-financed public-sector legacy is a commitment to being as prudent, responsible and strategic as possible for the nursing home’s residents, employees and the county’s taxpayers.

The present analysis and outlining of options is an accepted standard practice engaged continuously by private business and industry. The county should be no less prudent or proactive when it comes to this heavily regulated, 24 hours/7 days per week operation. Its maintenance and upkeep are paramount to this critical piece of our community’s healthcare continuum.

Jay A. Gsell
Genesee County Manager

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