Fourth Chautauqua County Home sale vote tonight

The fourth vote on potential privatization of the Chautauqua County Home will take place tonight in Mayville at 6:30.

A lengthy sequence of events will occur if the sale is approved to potential purchaser VestraCare, which has offered $16 million for the Dunkirk facility. A deposit of $1.6 million was made in good faith in January.

County Executive Vince Horrigan declined going into detail on the immediate process following the vote if the sale is approved.

“I don’t want to prejudge the outcome,” Horrigan said. “It’s appropriate to allow the vote to go forward, and based on that, we’ll have the next action steps.”

If the sale is approved, a “certificate of need” must follow, which involves the New York State Department of Health.

“It’s a back-and-forth process,” said Shannon Cayea, administrator for VestraCare. “We submit the application (to acquire the facility) and they tell us what they need. It could involve finances, it could involve licensing – there are so many factors that go into it.”

Cayea also said the DOH would investigate land parcels, residents and employees at the County Home.

“We really have no idea of knowing how long it will take,” Cayea said. “We just know that it’s a lengthy process.”

According to the department’s website, the objectives of the process are to promote delivery of high-quality health care and ensure that services are aligned with community need.

“The certificate of need provides the Department of Health oversight in limiting investment in duplicate beds, services and medical equipment which, in turn, limits associated health care costs,” the website states.

At one of VestraCare’s other nursing facilities, Susquehanna Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Ulster County, the certificate of need only took six months, which Cayea said was the “fastest in history.”

Horrigan said regardless of the vote, the county will continue to be responsible for the County Home for some extended period of time.

“In the event that there is a sale, nothing changes in the next day or two, or even months,” Horrigan said. “During that period of time, the County Home is under my responsibility and we’ll make sure we have the proper leadership in place.”

Certain legislators have verified that they will vote “yes” to sell the nursing home, while other votes remain unclear – the majority of which involve legislators who have been replaced since the last vote.

Janet Keefe, D-Fredonia, agrees with some of the legislators who preceded her and voted against its privatization.

With five confirmed legislators voting against the privatization based on past votes and interviews prior to tonight, two additional votes against the sale will cause the nursing home to remain county-owned.

It is unpredictable as to how Fred Larson, D-Jamestown, and Lisa Vanstrom, R-West Ellicott, will sway, although both previously stated they were unopposed to selling to a suitable purchaser.

Thirteen votes are needed in order for the nursing home to be privatized. This translates to a two-thirds vote.

The meeting will take place in the legislative chambers of the Gerace Office Building.