Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Croy Canyon group revokes bond request

Foundation proposes partnering with Blaine Manor, TanaBell


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

The Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation took a proposed general obligation bond for construction of a new senior care facility off the table on Tuesday, suggesting instead a partnership among itself, Hailey-based Blaine Manor and Pocatello-based TanaBell Health Services.

Foundation Executive Director Kathleen Eder said during a public meeting Tuesday that the foundation was willing to withdraw its earlier proposals for county issuance of general obligation bonds in excess of $18 million to build a tiered-care facility west of Hailey.

The earlier proposals asked the county to consider bonds of $18 million and $29.2 million to cover the cost of construction as well as operational shortfalls at Blaine Manor. The $18 million bond did not include construction of independent living units, only assisted living and skilled nursing units, and required a separate levy to fund Blaine Manor’s annual operating shortfall.

Eder said the foundation now wishes to work with Blaine Manor and TanaBell to provide a short-term solution that could become permanent in the future.

The proposal states that the foundation wants to lease the Blaine Manor facility for five years at the cost of $1 per year. After five years, the lease could be renewed and changed to a lease-to-own agreement if the new Croy Canyon Ranch facility could not be built. Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation would then own the facilities, a situation that Eder said would allow the foundation to reap the benefits of proceeds from the facility’s eventual sale and to make further improvements.

The proposal offers two options for managing Blaine Manor. First, the foundation could sublet it to Pocatello-based TanaBell Health Services, which has already agreed to take over management of Blaine Manor should the county approve its proposal. In that scenario, Blaine Manor would transfer its skilled nursing facility license and Medicare/Medicaid certification to TanaBell.

Second, the foundation could contract with TanaBell or another senior care provider for management of Blaine Manor. Croy Canyon would retain control of the facility license and certifications.

The proposal includes a $1.2 million two-year levy in May 2013 to cover operational shortfalls at Blaine Manor, in addition to a $500,000 levy to add 16 to 22 assisted living and memory support beds. Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation would contribute an additional $500,000 for the renovation, $250,000 of which would need to be raised after the lease was signed.

Linda Haavik, vice chair of the Blaine Manor board, said Blaine Manor’s proposal was similar in some ways but varied widely in others, due to the board’s inability to come to an agreement with the foundation.

The board’s proposal offers Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation three seats on its board in exchange for a committed dollar amount for the renovation of Blaine Manor, both in assisted living and skilled nursing. The entire levy needed would run to $3.6 million. 

Eder said the levy proposed by the foundation is less because the renovations would not be to the same standards.

“We’ll make them nice and make them to code, but not overly nice,” she said.

Blaine Manor Board member and retired physician Steve Pauley said the Blaine Manor proposal is important because it proposes a permanent, long-term solution for senior care that can start when levy funds run out in September.

“We all wanted to see Croy succeed, but even after 10 years of fundraising, Croy would like more time,” he said, adding that the Blaine Manor board has an immediate obligation to ensure that the manor’s residents remain cared for.

Haavik said Blaine Manor does not want to compete with the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation, and that Blaine Manor would still be dedicated to helping the foundation raise money for a replacement facility or in asking the public for support for a bond in the future. 

She said she hopes the county would also consider Blaine Manor’s original proposal for an agreement with TanaBell, under which TanaBell might buy the facility in the future and further expand its assisted living capacity.

The commissioners only asked clarifying questions during the meeting, and did not state support for any of the plans. Commissioner Larry Schoen said he felt there was quite a gap between the foundation and the manor board on the numbers and renovations involved, and on whether the lease should go to the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation or to TanaBell.

However, Commissioner Jacob Greenberg said he felt the foundation and the manor board could come to an eventual agreement.

“[The proposals] seem so similar with a few different touches,” he said. “There is this kind of aisle between you that needs to be bridged.”

The commissioners will discuss those proposals as well as one by Pocatello-based Safe Haven Health Care tonight, Jan 23, at the Blaine County Courthouse in Hailey. 

Safe Haven spokesman Dave Hennessy said Tuesday that his company has closed on the property for a pod-based assisted living and skilled nursing facility near Bellevue and hopes to open it in summer 2014. Safe Haven has offered to take over management of Blaine Manor at the beginning of the next fiscal year on Oct. 1.


Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com

 




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