Essex County nursing home is set to go private Monday

ELIZABETHTOWN – The transfer of the Horace Nye Nursing Home from Essex County to a private company was pushed back to Monday.

It had been scheduled to occur Friday, but a legal issue concerning the septic system caused a brief delay.

“We’re hoping it’s not a big deal,” county board Chairman Randy Douglas told the Enterprise.

County Attorney Daniel Manning said he was waiting to hear back from a lawyer for Specialty Care, the new private owner, to see what the issue is.

In all, 133 employees at the home will be switched over from the county to Essex Land Associates LLC and Essex Operations LLC, corporations created by Specialty Care, which is based in the Bronx.

Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava was one of six county supervisors who voted against selling the nursing home back in June 2012, and he is still against it.

“My major concern here is that I feel bad for the employees,” Scozzafava told the Enterprise. “I had employees calling me this evening scared to death because, as of Saturday, they have no health insurance.”

Manning said the county employees at the nursing home will continue to have health insurance as a long as they are still employed by the county and that Specialty Care will insure them after that. He added that Scozzafava knows the matter is not a big deal.

“They’re certainly going to have health insurance,” Manning said. “Once we close, Specialty Care will provide any benefits.”

Douglas said the bottom line for the employees is that not much will change.

“We’re all concerned about the employees, not just Mr. Scozzafava.” he said.

Scozzafava said he felt the sale wasn’t fair to the employees.

“You can’t leave people hanging out there,” Scozzafava said. “I just think it’s horrible the way we treated those employees.”

Sale details

County Manager Daniel Palmer said the transfer has gone as well as could be expected.

“Transfers of license is a time-consuming process,” Palmer said.

The transfer of the license did not officially go through until last November. The county and Specialty Care had signed a sale contract in March 2013.

Douglas said the delays that have occured are not not unusual for a transfer from a public to private entity.

The home was sold to stop annual county loses of nearly $2 million.