Vermilion officials to meet with potential nursing home buyers

Vermilion officials to meet with potential nursing home buyers

DANVILLE — Vermilion County officials are meeting Tuesday with representatives of the top two potential buyers of the county-owned Vermilion Manor Nursing Home.

Vermilion County Board Chairman Gary Weinard said this will be the first meeting between county officials and potential buyers since the county received five proposals earlier this month. Only two of the parties are what county officials have described as "valid."

County officials are not disclosing the identity of any of the potential buyers or details of their proposals as the county continues to explore the offers and the potential buyers.

Weinard said Tuesday's meeting is preliminary and will allow county officials to explore the top two candidates' real interest in buying the nursing home on Catlin-Tilton Road as well as the potential buyers' true financial standing and their philosophy in running a long-term care facility like Vermilion Manor, which maintains a resident count above 150 but is reliant on Medicaid funding.

"It's a slow process," Weinard said. "We want to be sure that a buyer fits the situation in terms of our staff and residents and its presence in the community."

In a November referendum, voters granted the county the authority to sell the nursing home, which has struggled financially off and on for many years, especially in 2011, when slow reimbursement payments from the state for Medicaid costs caused a cash flow crisis. The majority of Vermilion Manor resident care costs are funded by Medicaid, which puts more pressure on the facility's financial situation when reimbursements are slow or reduced. In November 2011, the facility was owed as much as $1 million in Medicaid funding and was struggling to pay its bills.

In February, Vermilion County officials enlisted the services of a marketing firm, Marcus and Millichap in Chicago, to help sell the county facility.

Weinard said the county received five offers to buy the nursing home but only two are from reputable companies that are also willing to meet the county's stipulations, including continuing to run the facility as a nursing home and retaining the residents and staff.

Weinard said county officials are now beginning a phase of studying the top two proposals and the companies that offered them and planning site visits to other facilities run by the potential buyers. He said if county officials decide to move forward with any offers, they would first go to the county board's nursing home committee for initial consideration before moving to the full county board.

Marcus and Millichap specializes in nursing homes and has been acting like a real-estate agent, marketing the nursing home to potential buyers. The county's agreement with the firm, which runs through Aug. 7, grants the firm commission only if the nursing home is sold.

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