Management of Frederick County’s government-run nursing home and assisted living facility has been turned over to a private company, in hopes of ending inefficiencies as they prepare to relocate in May.
The Frederick Board of County Commissioners approved a contract Dec. 8 to turn over management and oversight of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living to LW Consulting Inc. beginning Jan. 1.
The county will pay the Harrisburg, Pa., based-firm $439,008 for the first year. The county can renew the contract for six more months at a cost of $219,504.
“This gives us access to a depth of information and expertise we have not previously had and we can do it in a cost effective manner,” said Sonja Sperlich, chairwoman of the nursing homes’ board of trustees, the body that oversees the two homes.
Under the contract, the company will provide Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living with a clinical specialist, and handle admissions and marketing, as well as business office support and management.
The privatization of the two homes, located off of Rosemont Avenue in Frederick, came after months of restructuring and cutbacks to lessen the financial burden to the county.
In April, commissioners relinquished management of the two homes to the board of trustees, relieving the county of the need to directly manage the day-to-day operations.
Collier Baird of LW Consulting was hired in May as interim executive director for $105 an hour.
Baird’s term as interim director will end in January, and his replacement will be announced by the board of trustees at that time. Baird will continue working part-time until May, when both homes move into their newly-built facilities. Construction is underway on a 40,000-square-foot assisted-living facility and a 116,000-square-foot nursing home on Rosemont Avenue, expected to cost $30,000.
“The contract will get us through the transition smoothly,” said Harold E. Good, the county’s purchasing director.
In June, commissioners approved reductions to salaries and benefits for the employees of the two homes — expected to save the county about $625,000 this year. The changes, proposed by the board of trustees, went into effect July 1.
Commissioner David P. Gray (R) was the lone vote against the contract. He said other companies should have been allowed to bid for the management services, and questioned whether the county would have authority over the running of the two homes.
Gray said he did not like the idea of having county employees working for an outside contractor.
“I don’t think it’s right,” he said.
Collier assured Gray that no decisions are made without consulting the county.
“We have assured the county employees that they are still county employees and are subject to [county] rules,” she said.
Commissioners’ President Blaine R. Young (R) reminded Gray that in May they hired Collier and he never objected to the fact that he works for LW Consulting.
“I never heard a word about it,” he said. “This has been going on...and this board didn’t have a problem. And, Collier who works for LW Consulting.”