The Horace Nye Nursing Home in Elizabethtown.
Members of the Horace Nye Task Force have made their recommendation to sell the Essex County owned nursing home to Centers for Specialty Care.
Members of the Horace Nye Task Force sub-committee overwhelmingly showed their support for the New York City-based care provider who also operate 15 facilities in the state, according to Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley, who sits on the committee.
The task force committee then voted to follow the sub-committees recommendation May 29.
“As the supervisor of Elizabethtown, I am looking for a nursing home operator that would be a good community member,” Bartley said. “I believe that this nursing home group would be a good member of the Elizabethtown community.”
Department of Public Health Director Linda Beers, who served as an alternate and advisor to the sub-committee, echoed Bartley's recommendation.
“Centers for specialty care seem to be doing a far better job than any of the other places that I had called on,” Beers said. “Not all places received great reports, but all of the places that we looked at for this group had great reports.”
Bartley said she felt the study of the organizations had helped her clear her mind on some issues.
“I had not made up my mind, and I am the only one that is going to have to make this decision in my town,” Bartley said. “I respect the residents and the employees, but I have to do what is best for the town of Elizabethtown. After this visit, I very much believe in them and am sleeping more comfortably at night.”
The sub-committee, led by chairman and Lewis Supervisor David Blades, presented the findings of his group during a special task force committee meeting May 29 following the monthly Ways and Means Committee meeting.
“Each one of us discussed it..., and we all felt that the Centers for Specialty Care would be the best fit for Essex County,” Blades said.
Blades explained the work that his group did during their visits to several nursing home and care facilities operated by the three organizations that had placed bids on Horace Nye: Centers for Specialty Care based in New York City; Gerald Wood, CPA, out of Nassau County and Elliot Management Group out of Rockland County.
The committee was comprised of supervisors Blades, Bartley and Sue Montgomery Corey of Minerva, along with Horace Nye nurse Sabrina Westover, county Office for the Aging Director Patty Bashaw and Beers.
Each of the members of the task force spoke highly of their experiences at the four sites owned by Centers for Specialty Care.
Corey specifically addressed the question of Medicaid patients, which she did not believe would be a problem.
“Medicaid patients were most of the beds, and they are committed to doing the same thing if they are to come here,” Corey said.
After the presentation, County Board Chairman Randy Douglas thanked the board for their work and stressed that they were an independent committee.
“When I appointed this committee, I had no previous conversations with any of them,” Douglas said. “I knew Patty and Linda would give us their honest input. Everyone knows where I am and everyone knows where Tom was. I tried to put a committee together that was unbiased and would come back with the best opinion.”
“What you have not heard is a report on the other two that submitted bids,” Blades said.
“I think they answered our problems,” Schroon Supervisor Michael Marnell said.
“We can see that you put in an awful lot of effort and were very, very realistic,” Crown Point Supervisor Charles Harrington said.
Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava questioned the sub-committee on the organization’s spending and financial practices, including if employees make the same after the transition in other counties that Centers for Specialty Care had taken over.
“Did we get a chance to look at their financials?” Scozzafava asked. “It just seems to me that the money that they are making is in the rehab. There has to be some rhyme or reason how they are operating in the black when they are paying comparable wages as we do at Horace Nye.”
“For the people that were there, they are getting what they were getting,” Corey said. “That may change when new hires come in, and I would say that the rates are right in the ballpark with what we have.”
Scozzafava said he wanted to know if the Centers for Specialty Care was in the black.
“If we sell this home to a corporation that goes belly-up in the next five years, then we are going to have a big problem with beds here in Essex County,” Scozzafava said.
The sub-committee did not report on their visits to the other two sites, stating that they felt the Centers for Specialty Care was the superior operation. Elliot Management had the highest bid of $4,100,000, while Centers for Specialty Care bid $4,050,000 and Gerald Wood bid the base $4,000,000.
“The reason we didn't look at Elliot was because they did not meet what we were looking for as far as skilled nursing,” Blades said. “They were all assisted living and that is not what we want here in the county. It just did not meet what we were looking for.”
Blades also explained where the committee felt Wood fell short.
“They gave a very good presentation, but my concern was that they operate one nursing home and maybe we need to let the future determine if that operation is going to be sufficient,” Blades said.
During the Ways and Means Committee meeting, Scozzafava moved for a resolution calling on the board to hold a public hearing before any final vote was made on the potential sale. The vote was defeated by a 9-9 vote.
“How could anybody, any elected member oppose holding a public information meeting?” Scozzafava asked.
Scozzafava also tried several times to stop the recommendation of the Horace Nye Task Force, asking for several points of order but was turned back each time by county attorney Daniel Manning and task force Chairman Roby Politi of North Elba.
The full Board of Supervisors will next meet on Monday, June 4, where the recommendation is expected to be voted on by the 18 supervisors under the weighted vote system.
Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow and Newcomb Supervisor George Canon, who attended the Ways and Means Committee meeting, were the only supervisor not present for the tack force meeting.