Premier seeks change-of-ownership approval from state in county health center purchase

September 7, 2017
Washington County Health Center

Premier Healthcare Management Inc. has filed documents with the state to begin the official transfer of ownership of both the nursing home and adult day care operations at Washington County Health Center.

Scott Fergus, Washington County director of administration, said Thursday Mark Stewart, the attorney representing the county in the sale, confirmed Premier had filed documents to transfer the licenses from Washington County.

“There doesn’t appear to be any concern” the transfers could be stymied, Fergus said.

In June, the Washington County commissioners announced Premier was their choice to buy the 288-bed health center, which has been bleeding red ink since 2012, costing county taxpayers about $9 million in subsidies since then.

Premier’s purchase price of the 40-year-old facility in Arden, Chartiers Township, is $26.9 million.

Washington County has operated facilities to care for the indigent since the 1830s, when the county opened its first poor farm in Arden. The poor farm evolved into the county’s homes for aged men and aged women, Victorian-era structures were torn down and consolidated into a nursing home, which also offers rehabilitation and a dementia unit.

Harlan Shober, who was a Chartiers Township supervisor before he was elected to the three-person board of commissioners, said Thursday after the commissioners’ meeting he didn’t envision a change of ownership back then.

“I didn’t think we were going to sell this six years ago,” but the outlook changed “when we looked at the facts, and the direction things are going and how the market is going. This is not just flip the switch and it’s done.

“This is something we had to consider. The quality of care remains high. It’s in my home area. I was proud of it then, and I’m proud of it now.”

The commissioners have targeted Oct. 1 for the change of ownership.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

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