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November 7, 2013

Bassett, four more bids in contention for Manor

The local development company created by Otsego County to sell the Otsego Manor has whittled down the list of companies that want to buy the nursing home to five bidders including Cooperstown-based Bassett Healthcare Network.

Vestracare, which operates the Susquehanna Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Johnson City, is also among the companies still in the running after a total of eight bids were submitted, county officials said Monday.

The other three bidders still in contention are: Focus Ventures of Airmont, the Centers for Specialty Care Corp. in the Bronx and Personal Healthcare of Tarrytown.

Officials familiar with the proposals said there was a wide range of sums offered in the proposals for the 174-bed Manor, with the lowest topping $5 million. They refused to release specific amounts, noting negotiations with the bidders will begin after the financial stability of each company is evaluated.

County Rep. Katherine Stuligross, D-Oneonta, the chairwoman of the Otsego County Health Facilities Corp., whose mission is to privatize the Manor, said a “travel team” of trustees of the corporation made on-site inspections of the nursing homes operated by all of the bidders, with the exception of Bassett.

“They were all excellent nursing homes, with fine quality of care,” Stuligross said. “We were very impressed.”

The local development corporation members who went on the inspections were accompanied by Kurt Apthorpe, the Manor’s current administrator, and Maureen Imperato, the home’s nursing director, because their expertise on the delivery of medical services was needed, Stuligross said.

The next step, she said, is to conduct unannounced visits at facilities owned by the finalists, but not the ones that have already been inspected. The idea is to check out those places at times when the operators aren’t expecting the visits.

“I know that when someone is coming to my home, it is going to look really good,” Stuligross noted. “We want to see what they look like when they don’t know we’re coming.”

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