County weighing five Valley View bids

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Five bidders remain in competition for Valley View Home and will be under consideration for three weeks.

Commissioners Terry Tomassetti and Diane Meling agreed Tuesday to continue reviewing five of the nine proposals submitted to buy the county-owned nursing home. Since last week when commissioners eliminated three bidders for legal reasons, Aurora Health Management LLC of Millersville, Md., has withdrawn its bid of $12 million.

That leaves the county with five proposals: TL Management LLC of Brooklyn, N.Y., $16.1 million; Reliant Senior Care Management Inc., Philadelphia, $14.2 million; Altitude Health Services Inc., Evanston, Ill., $14.2 million; Nationwide HC Services LLC, Brick, N.J., $13.5 million; and Complete HC Resources, Dresher, Pa., $12.55 million.

Commissioner Ted Beam Jr., who opposes the sale, voted against the motion to keep the five bidders under review.

“The philosophy of selling the home is wrong,” Beam said. “I’ll stand by my objections.”

Tomassetti, who favors selling the home to lessen the financial liability it presents the county and the taxpayers, recommended asking bidders to prepare a final proposal and price by March 11.

Commissioner Diane Meling said she is asking for bidders to address their philosophy and approach to managing a nursing home and their transition plan.

While all bidders indicated a willingness to keep leasing the nearby soccer grounds to the Altoona division of the American Youth Soccer Organization, through June 30, 2014, Meling said she also wants the bidders to describe their long-term plans for the soccer grounds.

Another question, Meling said, would be for the bidders to describe the future of Parkview Terrace, the 14 independent living apartments opened in 2009 in one of the home’s older wings.

Meling said she also wants the bidders to describe how they “accomplish their bottom lines” and to provide a list of nursing facilities each owns in Pennsylvania.

At Tuesday’s meeting, representatives for AYSO and the union representing Valley View employees again voiced opposition to the proposed sale.

“It’s taken hundreds of hours and volunteers to get to what we’ve got today,” AYSO coach and volunteer Linda Shoup of Altoona said about the soccer fields. “We can’t lose this for our kids.”

Meling said while AYSO’s soccer program is great, the fields provide a place for the 60-year-old home’s future. Tomassetti agreed and said Valley View is not going to survive without growth, and the fields provide that opportunity.

Service Employees International Union leader Matthew Yarnell advised commissioners that his union remains willing to work on efforts that will allow the county to retain the facility. He also advised them to closely examine the information provided by the bidders. Reliant Senior Care, he said, was running only two nursing homes until last year. Online documents show the company purchased Penn Med’s 18 nursing facilities in June.