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January 28, 2014

County sells Otsego Manor to top bidder

(Continued)

Prior to the formation of the local development corporation, a grassroots group called Save the Manor implored county lawmakers to come up with a way to keep the Manor as a public health care facility. One of those who had disagreed with the sale, Sandra Bliss of Middlefield, said the vote in favor of Focus confirmed her fear that the trustees only wanted to maximize the amount of money the county would reap from the sale.

“We don’t know anything about what this company intends to do with the facility,” said Bliss, her voice cracking with emotion. “The LDC has lacked transparency throughout the whole process. We were promised money would not be the primary issue and care would be the primary issue.”

Stuligross said Focus was chosen after a “comprehensive selection process which involved numerous visits to nursing home facilities operated by the bidders, meetings with representatives of bidding entities, research into relevant state and federal data.”

She said Focus is planning to introduce programs that will enable the Manor to accept patients requiring specialized therapies and will work with Bassett Healthcare Network to provide services to Manor residents.

Cayea pointed out that, as reported earlier this month, the proposal from Focus lacked any mention of a relationship with Bassett. However, the VestraCare proposal specifically outlined a planned relationship with the Cooperstown hospital, whose board issued a letter of intent to work with the company.

She also pointed out that VestraCare was able to get the certificate of need for its nursing home in less than five months. As for the Manor, she said, “The county will subsidize this until they close the deal.”

Once the sale is completed, county government will have no say in how the Manor operates.

The Board of Representatives created the LDC last May after deciding to try to privatize the Manor after county taxpayers have paid for subsidies that have grown year after year.

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