by Jonathan Weaver
A month after two potential bids for the Armstrong County Health Center were opened, Armstrong County Commissioners started evaluating potential buyers before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Commissioner Chair Pat Fabian confirmed yesterday that a committee has been organized and have already begun touring facilities owned by Premiere 360 and Center Management Group.
“We’ve conducted two phone interviews with both bidders about two weeks ago and (Wednesday), we took one of our first tours of Sunnyview (Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Butler) – which Premier owns,” Fabian said. “The committee traveled to Butler and spent about three hours meeting with executives that flew in from Philadelphia.
“(Committee members) asked them a series of questions, talked with employess, talked with residents (at Sunnyview), and then (December 5), we will be traveling to the Philadelphia area to visit three personal care homes – one Premiere 360 operates and two through (Center Management Group).”
Sunnyview, which offers both short-term rehab and long-term care, was purchased two years ago by Premiere 360 and averages about 220 beds.
Commissioner George Skamai found the facility “very nice.”
“What they have done to the facility and what they can provide residents and the level of care and options is head-and-shoulders above what we can do,” Skamai said.
At the beginning of November, commissioners witnessed the opening of two bids at their public meeting. Premier Healthcare Management, of Philadelphia, submitted a purchase price of $5.75 million and Center Management Group, of Inwood, New York, submitted a bid of $5.6 million.
Executive Director of Administration Dan Lucovich said 11 companies were interested in reviewing financial information, but only three submitted proposals.
A bid from Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services of New York was not opened or accepted since it was received following the proposal deadline.
The research committee is made up of the three County Commissioners – Fabian, Skamai and Jason Renshaw -, Executive Director of Administration Dan Lucovich, Assistant Director of Administration Jennifer Long, two union employees, current Armstrong County Health Center Administrator Tom Parsons and a retired business individual that was involved in the nursing homes at Sugar Creek Rest – based in Worthington.
Union negotiations for an employee contract is ongoing, as well as working with Parsons on a 2017 budget should the County continue to operate the Kittanning-based health center.