Legislators sell home health certificate
PENN YAN—Yates County legislators voted unanimously to sell the County’s Certified Home Health Agency (CHHA) to Genesee Region Home Care Association, Inc. The company does business as Lifetime Care. The sale price is $800,000. Lifetime Care is one of two not-for-profit agencies that were considered. The vote took place during the legislature meeting on Monday, Aug. 8.
Financial considerations led to the decision to sell the operating certificate. Salary costs are estimated at approximately $300,000 a year. Pension costs are unknown, but have been increasing each year. The agency lost $125,000 in 2010 and is expected to lose $100,000 in 2011. At one time the agency was self supporting. Changes in reimbursement and state aid have resulted in losses. The operating certificate covers patient care. The local department will continue to offer clinics and programs.
No revenue will be received until the actual operating certificate is transferred. Purdy said that will take place some time in 2012. The revenue from the sale will be placed in an assigned fund that will be established for human services expenses. It will not go directly into the fund balance.
An ad hoc committee named by the legislature studied the matter for several months. Comments about the possible sale were made by the public at a special meeting on Monday, July 11. Comments centered on possible changes in the level of service as well as retention of the jobs of current employees.
Following the Aug. 8 meeting, Yates County Administrator Sarah Purdy answered questions about the changes ahead. Purdy said Lifetime Care will offer jobs to all current employees. She estimated the number of employees affected at up to 13. Three are part time home health aides. Purdy said three criteria were considered. They were, that patient care remains at a high level and that employees be offered jobs. Purdy said price was a consideration, but was not considered to be as important as the first two items.
Yates County is not the only area county to sell their CHHA operating certificate. Several counties in the area have sold their operating certificates.
In a related matter, legislators approved an additional compensation program for Certified Home Health Agency personnel. The program offers a one-time bonus payment of $2,000 to each full time employee and $1,000 to each part time employee of Yates County Public Health. The one-time payment is for the special circumstance that result from the sale. It is to encourage staff to remain in the CHHA until the responsibility for patient care changes to the new provider. Full time employees shall be paid for any accrued leave time they may have at the time that their employment with Yates County ceases. Both the sale and incentive program were approved unanimously.
Prior to the vote, Ad Hoc Committee Chairman, Legislator Douglas Paddock spoke. Paddock said the committee reviewed the potential sale and recommended selling the operating certificate to Lifetime Care. Paddock said, “This has been a stressful undertaking. I commend everyone’s professionalism. I wish we were not in this situation.” Paddock said he was reluctantly introducing the resolution to sell the CHHA operating certificate.
Legislature Chairman Taylor Fitch said now that the decision has been made, “We want to make sure our customers are not distressed. They may be cared for by the same people.” Turning to the group of CHHA employees in the audience, Fitch said, “You are extremely valuable to our county. We love you all and are sorry we had to make this decision.”
In other business: Public Safety Committee Chairperson Donna Alexander introduced a resolution recognizing and commending county emergency workers for their work during tragedies in the past several weeks. A drowning, near-fatal farm accident and six vehicular deaths on Pre-Emption Road on July 19 were noted. Alexander said the resolution recognizes the terrible toll of stress and demands this takes on Yates County emergency personnel and volunteers.
• Legislators authorized three resolutions related to design and construction of Helipad improvements at the Penn Yan-Yates County Airport. The total project cost is $413,940. Yates County’s 2.5 percent share is $10,349.
• On recommendation of the county Finance Committee, passed a resolution that the expiration date of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes PILOT) for Seancony, LP be Aug. 31, 2021. The original expiration date was intended to be Dec. 31, 2020. Yates County Industrial Development Agency, Yates County, Penn Yan Central School District, village of Penn Yan and the town of Milo agreed to the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding with Seancony, LP for restructuring of a PILOT dated Feb. 1, 2009. The company owns Lake Street Plaza in Penn Yan.
• Fitch asked for a moment of silence in tribute to long time dog warden Henry Lafler.
The next meeting of the Yates County Legislature will be at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12. The meeting will be in the county office building on Liberty Street in Penn Yan.