County has potential buyer lined up for nursing home
The County Legislature is poised to accept what County Manager Jay Gsell characterized as the "highest and best offer" from a qualified buyer on the Genesee County Nursing Home.
The county received eight purchase proposals, Gsell said, and the recommended buyer is not only well qualified but also submitted the highest bid.
The details of the purchase agreement are not yet public and more details should be available when the Legislature meets in a special Committee of the Whole Meeting following the 4:30 p.m. Ways and Means Committee meeting Wednesday, in the Old Courthouse.
For years, county officials have maintained the nursing home is a multimillion-dollar drain on the county's budget and that state officials have been maneuvering counties toward the sale of such facilities by strangling state aid. Financial disclosures provided to potential buyers show the nursing home's losses have been piling up, with losses of $2.9 million in 2011, $3.7 in 2012 and $4.3 million in 2013.
A non-government agency (whether a not-for-profit group or for-profit company) will have greater flexibility in generating revenue than the highly regulated government-owned facility, plus have greater leeway in reducing expenses, and it won't be facing a squeeze on funding from the State of New York, according to county officials.
The anticipated vote by the Legislature is just the first step in a long process that could last up to nine months to complete the sale.
While Gsell said legislators have been doing their due diligence to ensure the anticipated buyer is qualified, the state has its own investigative process before it will OK transferring what's called a "certificate of need" to the new owner. The nursing home has two such certificates.
"At this point, with the deadlines the state has on financing nursing homes, especially adult operations like we have, the Legislature would like to start that process now," Gsell said. "The state conducts what it calls a character and compliance review and that could take six to nine months. That's what other counties have been through, including our neighbor to the north."
While Gsell would not at this time disclose the name of the buyer, citing purchase agreement restrictions, he said it is a company based in New York. That's one of the details that could be made public Wednesday.
For previous nursing home coverage, click here.