Northampton County is debating the privatization of Gracedale. Gracedale is the county’s nursing home with 650 residents.
This would be a big deal as Gracedale is Pennsylvania’s second-largest nursing home. There are 750 employees. The reason for this consideration is the drain on the county budget. $7.8 million to be exact. Northampton County is looking at a $10 million budget deficit and possible 20% tax hike. Ouch!
Gracedale has more beds than demand. 725 beds, 650 residents. Employee benefits are also gobbling up the profits. Can you say pension plan nightmare!
At this time, leasing the facility seems to be the preferred course of action. However, patient care would have to be guaranteed. By leasing Gracedale, the county would be off the hook for the $7.8 million while receiving $2.5 million in annual revenue from whatever company would lease the facility. $10 million deficit eliminated. Selling Gracedale would generate $31 million for the county.
There seems to be a growing trend of Pennsylvania counties selling their nursing homes. Carbon, Dauphin, Luzerne, Lancaster and Cambria counties have all unloaded their county nursing homes.
Lehigh County has no plans to sell their nursing home but they are seeking ways to contain costs.