Iowa county seeks buyer for cash-strapped care center
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Officials in central Iowa’s Black Hawk County are seeking a buyer for a health care center that has repeatedly run multi-million-dollar deficits, but they have promised to keep the facility open.
The county has approved the hiring of an attorney and real estate broker to help sell Country View, a county-owned nursing and mental health care facility in Waterloo. The Board of Supervisors would only pay the brokerage from a commission if a sale took place.
Country View is expecting a $2 million budget deficit this year and a $3 million loss in the next fiscal year, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported . Compared to most private care centers, Country View is heavily reliant on Medicaid reimbursements.
“It’s going to be a continuing spiral, and we’ve got to do something to stop it,” said Supervisor Craig White.
Supervisor Linda Laylin said the board is trying to do everything it can to keep the care center open.
Some residents with family members at the center have expressed concern that a private owner would cut the staff’s salaries and benefits.
White said the county can reject a sale if the buyer isn’t willing to meet the county’s requests to protect residents and the center’s staff.
Supervisor Chris Schwartz voted against hiring the broker because he wants to consider options to control costs and reduce the budget deficit.
“Country View is, by and large, a mental health facility, and everyone’s constantly saying we’ve got to do more to provide mental health facilities,” Schwartz said. “If there’s going to be an investment in mental health it doesn’t come from anyone but us. For me, it doesn’t come from selling off Country View.”
The board will need to set aside money in the budget for Country View if it isn’t able to sell the facility before the fiscal year starting July 1.
Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com