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Genesee Nursing Home sold to private operator

BATAVIA – Genesee County lawmakers have agreed to sell the Genesee County Nursing Home to a private investment group out of Long Island for $15.2 million.

By an 8-1 vote, legislators approved the sale to Premier Healthcare Management LLC of Great Neck, a company started in 2006 that focuses on acquiring skilled nursing facilities, especially those that have had financial problems.

The sale follows a nine-month vetting process that included visits to elderly care facilities downstate and in Pennsylvania.

Genesee County had been looking to sell 160-bed nursing facility and 80-bed adult home on Bank Street. Operating losses over the past four years have exceeded $13 million.

Legislature Chairman Raymond F. Cianfrini and Ways & Means Committee Chairman Robert Bausch toured Premier facilities in Mount Vernon and Butler, Pa., respectively, and spoke with Premier employees. They said they were impressed with the quality of care and attention to details.

“We met with these individuals (buyers) on three or four different days, toured their facilities and met privately with staff at other facilities,” Bausch said. “We’re very comfortable with this firm.”

Cianfrini, noting that the sale of the nursing home was a “top priority of mine,” said that when he went to the Westchester Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation in Mount Vernon he thought he was at a hotel.

“They (Premier) will be a tremendous asset and a good fit for the county,” he said. “I have every confidence in the world … that there will be no reduction in the quality of care at our nursing home. And if they can make a profit, I give them credit for that.”

Rochelle Stein said her visit was “a breathtaking experience (meeting those) that will be taking care of our residents.”

Edward DeJaneiro Jr. cast the lone “no” vote.

“The principle of selling the home, that’s what I’m against. I have nothing against the prospective buyer or its management,” he said.

The company’s “first and most important priority is to alleviate any anxieties of the residents, employees and family members of Genesee,” said Lisa Sofia, Premier’s chief operating officer.

“We will work hard at gaining their trust through town hall meetings and conversations answering any questions they may have. We will make ourselves available to the community at large as well. “

Sofia said the transition will be “seamless and uneventful,” noting that Premier partnered with the county, its employees and others during its acquisition of Sunnyview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Butler, Pa., to ensure the community was unaffected by the sale.

The deal with Premier actually consists of three contracts – one for the sale of the building and all assets and two that cover the transfer of the operations of the skilled nursing facility and adult home, said County Attorney Charles Zambito.

Zambito said Premier plans to apply to the state to convert the 80-bed domiciliary into an Assisted Living Program facility. Legislators expedited the sale by granting the buyer a letter of intent to sell the nursing home, thus allowing Premier to meet the June 22 deadline for the ALP application.

“We’re acting in good faith and intend on completing the contracts in the next 30 days,” Zambito said. “Until then, they have this commitment and will be able to go to the Department of Health.”

The letter of intent includes a clause where Premier will interview any current nursing home employee who expresses an interest in continuing under the new owner. Premier owns four other nursing homes – in Great Neck, Philadelphia and two in Minnesota.

Genesee County Manager Jay A. Gsell said the county will “net” around $7 million on the sale after paying off pension contributions, workers compensation contributions and debt for facility upgrades.

He said he expects the sale to be finalized by next spring.