The county could receive up to $2.6 million for its excess nursing home beds at the Ashtabula County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Commissioners on Tuesday laid on the table for review bids from three firms interested in purchasing the certificates of need for dually eligible Medicare/Medicaid beds. The bid opening was Monday.
The county earlier this year retained the law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease to assist with the advertising and sale of the excess beds. A review of the operations revealed that there were 133 excess beds at the Kingsville Township facility.
The nursing home has 177 beds “in operation,” and projections of future need indicate that number is not expected to grow; the actual census has been around 125 residents.
The excess beds are a valuable commodity for the county because there is an excess of beds in the state. However, on a county-by-county basis, there are severe shortages in some and large excesses in others. Ashtabula County has an excess of 678 beds.
Legislation allows the sale of certificates of need under certain circumstances. Commissioners, after learning about the opportunity, decided to place the county’s excess beds on the market. The minimum bid was $10,000 each.
The bids received were substantially above that minimum:
- Nu2 Investments of Cincinnati bid $14,100 per bed in two separate bids; one for 132 beds, a second for 60.
- VRC Management of Cuyahoga Falls bid $15,000 per bed for 40 beds;
- Otterbein Homes of Lebanon bid $18,200 per bed, a total of 147 beds.
Board President Peggy Carlo said the law firm is looking into a clarification of the latter bid, since it is for more beds than were offered. All of the commissioners were pleased with the bids, which will undergo review by the legal counsel.
“It will be a substantial amount of money and it will really help the nursing home,” Commissioner Daniel Claypool said.
It won’t be a windfall, however, because the huge structure needs a roof. Kurt Gowins, project manager for Smolen Engineering, said the engineer’s estimate, based upon an inspection of the building two years ago, was $2,560,000. He said the number is driven by the large amount of flashing that is required for the project.
“There is so much perimeter to that building,” he said.
Further, if the roof and flashing are replaced, the metal mansard roof also should be replaced. That cost is pegged at $330,000. Both numbers are most likely higher, as the estimates are from two years ago.
Gowins said the existing roof, a single-ply membrane, has blistered and bubbled as a result of bowing fiberboard. The situation is so severe, many of the roof drains can no longer function.
Commissioners don’t know how much the law firm’s fee will be for handling the sale or which bid, if any, will be accepted. The sale must be wrapped up by the end of July, however.
Claypool stressed that the beds being sold by the county are excess and the sale will not affect the facility’s ability to meet the needs of county residents now or in the future.