Steuben Co. Health Care Facility Goes Private

Written By: Asha McKenzie
Steuben Co. Health Care Facility Goes Private

BATH (WENY) -- It's a change in ownership for the Steuben County Health Care Facility in Bath.
     After years of fiscal distress to keep it open, the county sold it to the Centers for Specialty Care,  a privately owned company.
     The facility will now operate as the Steuben Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare.
     County officials say it was a decision they didn't make lightly.
     But it was costing millions to operate.. And selling was the only option.
     Steuben county leaders say the health care facility had to be sold, due to the intense strain on the county budget.
     The facility was sold to Centers for Specialty Care for 11-million dollars, and finalized on July 1st.
     "We were running a deficit of an annual basis of anywhere from 2 to 3 million dollars a year, Over the last several years," said Mark Alger, Steuben County Manager. "And really depleted all the reserves the county had for the facility."
     The $20 million county home was built on the promise the state would provide continual operation funds.
     But according to the county, the state changed its reimbursement program, and the funding didn't come through.
     Since 2006, it's been a struggle to keep it running.
     "Unfortunately, if I had a crystal ball and knew that was going to happen. We wouldn't have built the thing," said Alger. "Because it would have been better off for us in the long run."
     David McCarroll, the Steuben County Healthcare facility Adminstrator, says the only changing is the name and that they're going private.
     He says the union workers will get to keep their job and the quality of healthcare will remain the same. 
     "Being a choice that people seek out from as far away as Rochester or Sayre. We have no trouble finding customers and that will continue in the future," said McCarroll. 
     Benefits for the Union workers was costly for the county to fund.
     But McCarrol stresses workers may continue to receive benefits from their current provider, but under a private contract.
     "It's a different contract," said McCarroll. "But it's a contract that they negotiated for. The workers themselves."
     County officials say they are not profiting from this sell.
     They still owe $13 million to the state.