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Potential management contractors for Westmoreland Manor screened

| Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 11:42 p.m.

Plans to lease Westmoreland Manor, the county-owned nursing home in Hempfield, have been abandoned as county commissioners plan to hire a company to manage the facility.

Commissioners said on Tuesday that proposals from three private companies are being reviewed to determine which should operate the 403-bed home that cares for indigent seniors.

“We're always looking for new ways to do business, but leasing it is not one of the things on the table at this time,” Commissioner Charles Anderson said.

Commissioners were seeking proposals to lease the home to an outside firm. That option was ruled out once the three companies under consideration for the management contract declined to submit proposals for such an arrangement, Anderson said.

Commissioner Tyler Courtney said a management contract approved next week will not prevent officials from later deciding to lease or sell the Manor.

“Any contract will provide the county the opportunity to explore various options at the facility should we decide to change direction such as hire an in-house director, lease or sell. We don't want to handcuff ourselves,” Courtney said.

Anderson said there are no plans to sell the Manor.

“What we're trying to do is have the Manor pay for itself,” Anderson said. “I will not have it drain the coffers of Westmoreland County.”

In December, commissioners sought leasing proposals as well as proposals to manage the nursing home from four companies county officials identified as finalists.

Interviews with three — Complete Health Care Resources Inc. and Premier Healthcare Resources, both of Montgomery County, and Danan Healthcare Consulting Group Inc. of Penn Township — have been completed. The fourth company has withdrawn.

Commissioner Ted Kopas, the Democratic minority member on the three-man board, said he would not support a plan to sell the Manor.

“Mercifully, all that is off the table as far as leasing or selling. I don't think a nationally recognized home that is a public asset should be on the market,” Kopas said.

Complete Health Care has served as the private management company for the Manor since 1996.

Last year, the company was paid $682,000 for management services.

Commissioners last year suggested seeking concessions from 500 unionized nurses and other employees at the Manor to ease the facility's financial burden.

No talks with the union have been undertaken. Its contract with the county expires at the end of 2015.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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