Catt. County hires nursing home director from Chautauqua County

LITTLE VALLEY – Cattaraugus County legislators have found a new nursing home director for the two facilities in their care. The new administrator will be leaving his post just a county away to take over his new role.

After Maureen Mooney-Myers resigned toward the end of 2013, the search for a new nursing home director kicked into high gear. That search was completed Jan. 22, when, by unanimous vote, the legislators chose to pull Timothy Hellwig, Chautauqua County Home director, from his post in Dunkirk to the new post in Cattaraugus County.

Hellwig, whose resignation from the Chautauqua County post will take effect Feb. 28, will assume his new role March 3.

Hellwig leaves a county that has started to look into the idea of selling its county-operated nursing home to one that has found their nursing homes in a financial situation that may require similar action down the road. Some Cattaraugus County legislators have brought forward the idea of privatizing the nursing homes, because of the uncertainty of Medicaid and rising costs of maintenance to the facilities.

Cattaraugus County’s nursing homes, in Olean and Machias, have been in cash-strapped positions in recent years. An audit of those facilities recently showed that the shortfall of cash and the increase in the level of funding that has had to come from the tax levy to keep the homes afloat, fiscally, has brought the talks of privatization to committees within the county governmental structure.

Chautauqua County legislators came one vote shy in an attempt to privatize their County Home, taking the facility and its estimated $2.6 million operating deficit off the hands of county taxpayers. The vote denied the $16 million deal to sell the facility, as was recommended by a county-appointed panel in 2013.