There are 43 county-owned nursing homes in 38 counties.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The impending sale of Lawrence County's nursing home is the first transfer of such a facility to a for-profit company, according to an organization that oversees county homes.
Mike Wilt, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of County Affiliated Homes, said he doesn't recall a county nursing home in Pennsylvania ever being sold to a for-profit agency. Most have been taken over by nonprofit entities, he said.
Lawrence County commissioners have agreed to sell Hill View Manor to Sylvan Heights Realty Partners, LLC, a company formed specifically for this deal by four county residents. As part of the sales agreement, the nursing home and its surrounding property must remain on the real estate tax rolls, which means it cannot operate as a nonprofit agency.
This could also be the first sale of a county nursing home in the past five years, Wilt said.
Wilt credits the lack of sales to enhanced funding county-owned nursing homes have been getting from state and federal officials.
"I don't think the nursing homes have been a financial drain in the last few years," he added.
Counties have also been reducing the number of beds to help lower costs, Wilt said.
There are 43 county-owned nursing homes in 38 counties. Larger counties such as Allegheny and Erie have more than one county-owned facility, he said.
Lawrence County commissioners have said their biggest priority is getting the property back on the tax rolls, but they also want to ensure that Hill View Manor continues to operate as a nursing home.
Wilt said another advantage to county's selling homes is fewer employees.
"That helps with a lot of personnel issues such as worker's compensation. Obviously you will have fewer people working for you and you should have fewer issues," he said.