By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — COOPERSTOWN — The six firms interested in bidding for the 174-bed Otsego Manor nursing home include Bassett Medical Center and Upstate Services Group, The Daily Star confirmed Thursday.
More entities could become involved in the competition because the deadline for submitting letters of intent is not until Sept. 27, officials said.
Bassett is the only entity in the mix that’s based in Otsego County. A Bassett spokeswoman, Karen Huxtable-Hooker, signaled that because the health care network has submitted a letter of interest to the Otsego County Healthcare Facilities Corp., that does not necessarily mean it will follow up with a formal proposal to acquire it.
“Otsego Manor is a critical part of the health services network in our region.” Huxtable-Hooker said. “We are pleased to learn that there are a number of organizations that have expressed interest in the Manor. In order to fully evaluate the issues involved in future plans for the Manor, Bassett has indicated that it will review the RFP (request for proposals) and make a determination as to any potential Bassett role by the September 27 RFP deadline.”
The other letters sent to the HFC include those submitted by the Centers for Specialty Care Group of the Bronx, the Susquehanna Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Tryko Partners, based in Brick, N.J., and SNF Ventures of Brooklyn, said Otsego County Rep. Katherine Stuligross, D-Oneonta.
The information was released to The Daily Star after the basis for withholding it from the public was challenged this week at a committee meeting where county representatives discussed the looming Manor sale.
Stuligross also pointed out that those submitting letters may not follow up with actual proposals.
When proposals are submitted, the Center for Governmental Research, which has been retained to assist the HFC in the sale, “will go over them with a fine-tooth comb,” Stuligross said.
Upstate Services Group was selected last year by the Onondaga County Legislature as the successful bidder for that county’s 513-bed nursing home. After first estimating that the company would pay up to $10 million, Onondaga officials later conceded that the price had fallen to $5 million, indicating the final deal would give the county even less because it agreed to give the company $2 million to pay for the first two weeks of operating costs, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.
Otsego County is hoping to close on the Manor sale some time in 2014.
County lawmakers opted to begin the process selling the Manor and created the HFC this year to handle the sale because of rapidly escalating deficits that have strained the county treasury and forced officials to squeeze the budgets of other agencies.