Catt. Co. Would Be Wise To Sell Nursing Homes

It would appear Chautauqua County got out of the nursing home business just in the nick of time.

Cattaraugus County legislators recently heard reports on county-owned nursing homes in Machias and Olean – and the news is not good. Equity in the facilities is dropping while, at the same time, collectible debt is becoming harder and harder to collect. Matters become worse when one considers the changes in Medicaid reimbursements. Michael McCarthy, of the Queensbury-based, McCarthy & Conlon, LLP accounting firm told Cattaraugus County legislators these changes will further impact the homes’ revenues. Perhaps the final nail in the coffin of county-owned nursing home ownership is the likely end of the Intergovernmental Transfer, a system of payment that kept the Chautauqua County Home afloat for so long.

“Your payment from the IGT for 2013 will be the last true IGT payment you receive,” McCarthy said. “Those that have been in your facilities before the effective ending date of Oct. 1, 2013 will still be under the old methodology, but, as those people cease to use the services, the new patients will be under the new system and, you will be negotiating rates for each of them.”

The Pines at Machias lost $3,830,601 in 2013 while The Pines of Olean had a deficit of $2,641,350. Combined, the homes are losing a combined $6,471,951 despite the homes operating at 99 percent capacity.

Cattaraugus County legislators should have long ago opened up sale talks on the homes. Perhaps it is not too late for Cattaraugus County’s taxpayers to have this burden removed from their backs.