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January 16, 2014

Manor's top bidder defends record

(Continued)

Dornburgh’s wife, Patricia, is an Alzheimer’s patient at the Manor, and he said she is one of a small number of private pay patients at the 174-bed home just south of Cooperstown, at a cost of $275 per day, or more than $100,000 per year.

Another reason why he said he supports VestraCare is because its presentation included a letter of intent from Bassett Medical Center indicating that it would develop a formal relationship for medical services with the Manor should the company take over the nursing home.

He said Focus representatives had made no mention of having lined up a working relationship with Bassett.

However, Dorn, the spokesman for Focus, said Focus “anticipates establishing a long-term relationship with Bassett” should it buy the Manor.

On Monday, Kurt Apthorpe, the Manor’s current administrator, sent the LDC board members an email — a copy of which was obtained by The Daily Star — indicating that Focus has made an “impressive” effort to correct deficiencies found at the Utica home under its previous management.

Commenting on the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services system for evaluating nursing homes, Apthorpe wrote: “There are flaws with the system and CMS cautions making decisions solely on this comparison.”

He added that the ratings “are not reset when a new owner takes over” and reflect the past three inspection cycles.

While he acknowledged the Utica home has a one-star rating, Apthorpe also noted that the Focus management there “inherited serious deficiencies from the previous owner. Their most recent inspection in January 2013 had deficiencies, but none at a level considered severe or resulting in resident harm.”

Apthorpe’s email did not discuss the high grades achieved by VestraCare.

Dornburgh said that three of his LDC board colleagues who favor the Focus bid — Kim Muller, Richard Eastman and Rep. Don Lindberg, R-Worcester — were absent from the board’s Dec. 17 meeting at which both Focus and VestraCare representatives made presentations.

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