Another WNY county explores future of nursing home

January 30, 2014 Updated Jan 30, 2014 at 1:54 PM EDT

By WKBW News
By Tracey Drury, Buffalo Business First

January 30, 2014 Updated Jan 30, 2014 at 1:54 PM EDT

Genesee County is the latest municipality to begin considering how to deal with ongoing debt at its county-owned nursing home.

The Genesee County Legislature this week created three committees to begin exploring options at the 240-bed Genesee County Nursing Home in Batavia.

Raymond Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature, said in a news release the county is responding to ongoing changes at the state level that threaten the availability of critical services in the community.

"Our charge to these committees and our consultants is that we devise a plan to insure that quality long-term care continue to be available and accessible in our community," he said.

Working with attorneys in longterm care planning at Bond Schoeneck & King, the long term care sustainability committee, the operations/redesign committee and the community engagement/education committee will work to analyze and determine options this year for the site. Cianfrini said "time is of the essence" to develop and articulate a strategy in 2014.

A similar process is underway in Orleans and Chautauqua counties, where legislators are exploring how to minimize expenses to county taxpayers while maintaining access to services for its elderly residents.

A recent statewide study by the Center for Governmental Research in Rochester found that more than 92 percent of all county-owned nursing homes operate in the red. The survey, which examined 2010 financial operations at 33 sites across the state, found that most county-owned homes stand little chance of surviving unless they implement significant operational changes.

In Orleans, officials are considering potential offers for The Villages of Orleans Health & Rehabilitation Center, its 120-bed nursing home in Albion. Orleans County Health Facilities LDC have two offers on the table from separate private companies in the downstate region, each of which have ties to multiple nursing homes and longterm care facilities outside the region.

An announcement on a potential deal is expected within the next week.

Meanwhile, Chautauqua County is considering an offer for its 216-bed home in Dunkirk, a site that was projected to lose $3.8 million in 2013. Three times last year legislators turned down offers in the $16 million range, including an offer just before the November election from VestraCare, which has holdings around the state.

VestraCare will be back in town Feb. 5 for a special meeting with legislators.

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