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August 29, 2012

Otsego rep: Manor won't be like Delhi home

The Daily Star — With Delaware County’s former nursing home now scrambling to correct a host of “deficiencies” uncovered by state inspectors, Otsego County Rep. Katherine Stuligross, D-Oneonta, said Tuesday that any potential buyer for the Otsego Manor must be financially stable.

What happened at Countryside Care Center in Delhi – now under state order to correct 66 deficiencies – “won’t happen here,” vowed Stuligross, the chairwoman of the Board of Representatives’ Otsego Manor Committee.

County lawmakers – facing rising costs at the Manor and shrinking assistance from state government – have begun to consider privatizing the 174-bed facility. Stuligross’s committee went into executive session last Friday and, according to sources, opted to recommend that the Manor be sold to a private operator. The full county board is expected to take up that suggestion next week.

Stuligross declined to comment on what occurred at the closed-door meeting. She did say that privatizing the Manor will be a tough decision for the board.

“This isn’t something that any of us want to do,” she said. “But the mandates get tighter, and our reimbursement is less, and that cannot go on.”

A similar debate seven years ago preceded the decision by the Delaware County Board of Supervisors to sell the then county-owned Countryside Care Center in Delhi. That board, in the end, opted to sell the facility for $2.7 million to Leatherstocking Healthcare LLC, allowing the private company to operate the former county home as a for-profit business.

The facility is now in jeopardy of losing its federal Medicare funding if it does not correct numerous deficiencies found by the state Health Department.

According to records posted on the state Health Department wesite, state inspectors documented high medication error rates at Countryside as well as a shortage of clean linens and failure to keep up a system “to assure residents have reasonable access to their personal funds.”

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