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January 28, 2014

County sells Otsego Manor to top bidder

(Continued)

Stuligross, chairwoman of the corporation, said: “Although a finalist has been selected, the process is not yet complete.” It could take up to a year for the state Health Department to review the application for a certificate of need that Focus will have to garner in order to complete the transaction, she said.

She said the state agency must conduct a character and competency review of Focus to ensure it meets the state’s standards for nursing home operators.

A senior executive for VestraCare, Shannon Cayea, of Oneonta, criticized the trustees who voted for Focus.

“We raised our offer, but it’s obvious it’s all about the money,” Cayea said. “I’m really disappointed with the LDC board.”

Cayea noted that the county will continue to be financially responsible for the Manor until Focus can persuade the state Health Department to issue that firm a certificate of need. She pointed out that Focus, more than two years after acquiring what had been a troubled nursing home in Utica, has still not applied for the certificate of need for that facility, which last year received a score of 1 out of 5 on a nursing home scoring system used by the federal government. The two nursing homes run VestraCare attained scores of 4/5 and 5/5 after their most recent federal inspections.

“I’m pretty sad to see that in the place where I live it’s all about the money, and it’s really not about the care of the elderly in this community,” Cayea told The Daily Star.

Dornburgh, a retired banker who once served as a hospital board chairman in New Jersey, said he agreed with that criticism.

“I don’t blame her for being disappointed,” Dornburgh said. “I think the money was the ruling factor — not the quality of care.”

But Stuligross defended the majority’s decision to go with Focus.

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