Washington County Health Center transfer delayed

September 28, 2017
Washington County Health Center

The official transfer date of Washington County Health Center to a private entity, targeted for 12:01 a.m. Sunday, has been postponed until Friday, Oct. 20.

Premier Healthcare Management LLC of Philadelphia in June offered $29.6 million to purchase the 288-bed facility in Arden, Chartiers Township, in response to the county commissioners’ request for proposals at the beginning of the year.

The transaction also includes slightly more than 19 acres.

While Oct. 1 had often been mentioned as the date in regard to a real estate closing, Oct. 5 or the first week of October had surfaced as possibilities as autumn drew nigh.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has approved the transfer of the county’s license to operate adult day care at the site, but the transfer of the license for the nursing home operation and control of the facility is not yet complete.

The commissioners and Lisa Sofia, president and chief executive officer of Premier, signed formal agreements related to the sale of 36 Old Hickory Ridge Road on June 30.

According to a news release prepared by the county, Premier’s due diligence period ended in mid-August.

Members of Service Employees International Union PA have expressed concerns that the nursing staff had been kept in the dark about their future, and that laundry, housekeeping and dietary departments would be outsourced. As part of the sales agreement, Premier pledged to give the health center’s workers first consideration in employment.

Scott Fergus, Washington County director of administration, said in a news release, “Right now, Premier is in the middle of holding its jobs fair, and as a demonstration of (its) commitment to this transaction, Premier has increased its non-refundable deposit significantly.”

Since 2012, the county, through taxpayer dollars and other revenue, has subsidized the operation of the health center by approximately $9 million.

The 40-year-old facility, which has received an overall rating of four stars out of a possible five on the Medicare.gov website, offers skilled nursing, rehabilitation services, two secured Alzheimer’s units and adult day care.

Covenants related to the sale of the land require that the site be used solely as a health center for the next 15 years.

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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