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Sale of Chautauqua County Home set to be completed

DUNKIRK – The sale of the County Home, a skilled nursing facility, to VestraCare will be completed on Wednesday, Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan announced.

Once the transfer is complete, the facility will be called Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The formal shift in ownership should be complete at midnight on New Year’s Eve. 

“We are excited to be part of the Chautauqua community,” said Edward Farbenblum, VestraCare’s executive vice president.

Horrigan said that the state Health Department gave its final approval for VestraCare, a Long Island nursing home company, to purchase the 216-bed facility on Monday. The $16 million sale was approved by the County Legislature earlier this year. 

The Chautauqua County Home, on Temple Road in Dunkirk, specializes in rehabilitation and long-term health care. The county has operated a facility to care for the elderly and infirm since 1832.

VestraCare first showed interest in buying the facility from the county in August 2013. Although its first offer to purchase the home was voted down by the Legislature in October 2013 and its second offer of $16 million was approve in February 2014.

“Nearly two years ago the county began the active process of trying to find a potential buyer for the County Home,” Horrigan said.

“During this period there were considerable discussions among legislators and members of the public who voiced strong opinions on both sides of the privatization issue,” he said. 

After several public meetings on the issue, it was decided to sell the skilled nursing facility to VestraCare, which currently operates two other skilled nursing facilities in New York State. 

“I am still confident that VestraCare is the perfect fit for our county,” Horrigan said. 

“VestraCare is not only committed to retaining the high-quality services currently offered at the County Home, but it has also expressed an interest in expanding our facility’s current services to better serve our citizens.”

He said he believes that shifting these services to the private sector will reduce the financial burden on taxpayers and generate property tax revenue.

The contract signed between the county and VestraCare will give preferred admission to county residents and give current residents the right to remain at the facility. VestraCare agreed to interview all current employees who filed an application and had a successful background check, and it is expected that the majority of current employees will continue to work for VestraCare.

“Over the past 50 years, the County Home has earned its reputation as a leader in the health care and skilled nursing industry, and we are committed to carrying on that legacy,” Farbenblum said. 

“We will work diligently to ensure that Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation Center continues to be a center of excellence, dedicated to delivering high-quality services and supporting the needs of Chautauqua residents.”