Valley View vote close

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Blair County commissioners have wrapped up visits to nursing facilities operated by bidders for Valley View Home and might be ready to vote on Tuesday.

Final offers from the five finalist bidders are due Friday to the Chicago real estate investment firm that marketed the county’s 240-bed facility.

Commissioners Chairman Terry Tomassetti said that if he has the weekend to review the final offers, he should be ready to vote Tuesday.

Commissioner Diane Meling said she would be ready to vote Tuesday “barring any unforeseen circumstances.”

Both commissioners visited nursing facilities operated by four of the five finalist bidders. They also received information from a fifth bidder, but because its facilities are in Kansas, Nebraska and Arizona, they chose not to visit because of the expense.

Meling said she was impressed with the quality of the four facilities she visited in the DuBois, State College and Philadelphia areas.

“I would have been comfortable with having a family member at any of the four,” Meling said.

Tomassetti said he went to Indiana County and to three eastern Pennsylvania counties where he saw facilities acquired within the past two years that have since undergone upgrades. Tomassetti also praised the interaction he witnessed among the staff, residents and management and described it as “remarkable” at three locations.

Commissioner Ted Beam Jr., who is opposed to selling Valley View, said after the commissioners’ meeting that he would expect to hear the same praise from anyone visiting Valley View.

“I think they would have the same comments, see the same relationships,” Beam said. “As the residents previously told us, they like Valley View. It is their home.”

The county, which has operated Valley View for about 60 years, agreed last fall to explore the option of selling the home to address changes within the health care industry that have the potential to affect the home, county government and county taxpayers. Subsequently, Tomassetti and county Finance Director Robert Kuntz prepared a study showing the county with a nearly $30 million unfunded liability in its pension plan, with about $9 million applicable to Valley View operations.

Meling said she has tried to focus on the quality of care while interviewing the bidders and while visiting their facilities. When the bidders were interviewed, she said they spoke about making improvements at their facilities to attract residents. While visiting, she said she saw evidence of that effort in the form of new furnishings, flat screen TVs, paint, flooring and upgrades to shower and bathing areas.

“They are investing in their facilities,” she said.

Of the nine bidders that submitted negotiable bids for Valley View Home, the county named five finalists: TL Management LLC, 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.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.