Wednesday, May 23, 2007

County awaits results of Blaine Manor vote

?Yes? vote would allow transfer of funds to nonprofit foundation

Express Staff Writer

Sarah Michael

Whether Blaine County should sell the Blaine Manor nursing home in Hailey and transfer the proceeds to the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation was placed in the hands of county voters on Tuesday.

The advisory vote, which required a simple majority to pass, was to confirm the county's decision to sell the 25-bed facility and transfer responsibility for running a county nursing home to the private, nonprofit foundation. The sale of Blaine Manor is expected to generate somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 million.

As of press time late Tuesday evening, results from the vote hadn't been made available by the Blaine County Clerk's Office.

If voters did indeed approve the sale of Blaine Manor Tuesday, the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation will be responsible for building and operating a new $20 million continuing care facility in Croy Canyon, west of Hailey. As a requirement under a 10-year contract for services with the county, the facility would have to be open for all residents in Blaine County.

The new facility is proposed for a site located one mile west of Hailey on 20 acres of land owned by the foundation.

Construction of the new facility and its operation by the foundation would relieve the county of subsidizing Blaine Manor to the tune of $600,000 to $700,000 annually.

"It's too large a portion of our budget," Blaine County Commissioner Sarah Michael said during an interview earlier this month.

Another concern is Blaine Manor's deteriorating condition, Michael said.

"The facility is falling down and is in need of major repairs," she said.

The sale of Blaine Manor and proposed subsequent takeover of senior nursing care by the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation would prevent the county from having to eliminate that service here, Michael said.

"At some point we won't be able to," she said. "We will be at a crossroads at some point in the future."

Under the foundation's service agreement with the county, all current Blaine Manor residents would be transferred to the Croy Canyon Ranch once it opens for business. The agreement also requires the foundation to provide 16 Medicaid beds in the skilled nursing portion of the facility.

Unlike Blaine Manor, which is solely a nursing home, the new Croy Canyon Ranch facility would include a mixture of independent-living as well as assisted-living facilities.

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