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State rule change could affect health agency sale

    YATES, SCHUYLER COUNTIES—A change in the New York state health law means private health care providers no longer need to purchase a home health agency license from a county.
    Yates County Administrator Sarah Purdy said this change by the New York State Department of Health, made the first week in December, could affect the sale of the county’s license to Lifetime Care out of Rochester. The Yates legislature approved the sale for $800,000 in August of this year. With the certificate, Lifetime Care becomes the primary home service provider for county residents. However, Purdy said the state has not yet approved the sale and does not expect a decision until midway through 2012.
    She explained the county retains ownership of the certificate until the state approves the sale, but has contracted with Lifetime Care to provide the services in the meantime. Purdy explained that because the state has yet to approve the sale, Lifetime Care could pull out.
    “Theoretically, Lifetime Care could say to us ‘we don’t need your certificate. We could apply for one of our own,’” said Purdy.
    Under the regulation change, a private care provider could apply for a license from the state and not need to purchase one. She said this would mean the county would lose the $800,000 (minus an $80,000 deposit), which Lifetime Care agreed to pay at the time the sale is finalized. However, Purdy added if that happened the county would be able to take some legal action because Lifetime Care is under contract with Yates.
    “We would have to come to some settlement,” said Purdy.
    Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn said this change will not impact their sale of the county’s certificate to the Genesee Regional Home Care Association. He said he has spoken with the buyer and they intend to honor the deal. O’Hearn added he expects the state to approve the sale sometime after the first quarter of 2012.
    The change in regulations came from the state’s Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC). Purdy said it lifts a restriction on the number of health care agencies able to operate in a county.




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