Wednesday, January 9, 2013

County considers senior-care hospital board

Attorney: Board would be less risky than agreement


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

The least risky way to ensure that a senior-care facility remains in the county indefinitely would be to establish a county-owned hospital, with a board appointed by the county commissioners, Blaine County counsel said Tuesday.

Blaine County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tim Graves presented a memo outlining the legal risks involved with the county’s accepting one of three proposals by private companies to manage senior-care facilities. The board had requested the memo in December.

Graves said the legal issues involved in proposals by Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation and Pocatello-based Tanabell Health Services were such that he would recommend the county form a hospital board to govern the facility, rather than simply entering into an agreement for services with either organization.

The Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation has proposed building a senior care facility west of Hailey that would provide skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living. TanaBell has proposed taking over operations of the existing skilled nursing facility in the valley, Blaine Manor, and expanding it to include assisted living. 

Both proposals have asked for public funding. TanaBell has asked for a $6 million levy to fund Blaine Manor’s shortfall until efficiencies can be made and assisted living facilities can be constructed. Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation requested an $18 million general obligation bond to fund construction of a new facility and to cover Blaine Manor’s operating shortfalls until the new facility is completed. 

But Graves said if either proposed facility were to fail, the county would have no way to save it. The county is prohibited by Idaho code from lending to a private corporation or guaranteeing its debt, and Graves said that would prevent the county from stepping in and saving a failing senior care facility.

“The board should consider owning [a facility], owning it and being the guarantor to make sure that money goes toward a public use and to make sure that public use is protected,” he said. “It eliminates a lot of the risk involved.” 

A county-owned hospital governed by a hospital board would be subject to county authority regarding budgets and operations. Graves said the county would also be able to provide voter-approved bonds and levies to fund construction of either facility, including the independent-living and assisted-living portions. 

Graves said a county hospital board would be the best way to protect the taxpayers’ investment in either facility. Without a board, he said, the county has no way to ensure the facility’s long-term existence.

“The only thing tethering us to the private nonprofit [would be] this service agreement,” he said. “That tethering scares me. I don’t know how much protection the county can get through a service agreement.”

Graves said the proposal by Pocatello-based Safe Haven Health Care had far fewer legal issues because the company was not asking for public funding. He said the company’s request for a transfer of Blaine Manor’s Medicare and Medicaid certification would give the county a certain amount of leverage in future negotiations.

Commissioners Jacob Greenberg and Angenie McCleary did not comment during the meeting about whether they would support a county-owned facility, and McCleary said she would not comment without digesting the information first.

However, Commissioner Larry Schoen said he would not support the formation of a county hospital board. The goal of the process, he said, was to get the county out of the senior-care business.

“I have put pressure on this board to come up with a solution and follow through with our original mission,” he said. “I want to state categorically that I do not support that option.”


Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com

 




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



-->
 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.