by Steven Hale
Metro took a big step toward getting out of the nursing home business, when the Metro Council gave final approval Tuesday night to Mayor Karl Dean's plan to privatize the Bordeaux Long Term Care and Knowles Home Assisted Living facilities.
State legislation enabling the plan has passed the Senate, but still needs approval in the House. The council approved it 29-1, with the lone dissenting vote coming from Councilman Bo Mitchell.
At-Large Councilman Jerry Maynard, who first proposed selling the facilities back in 2009 and has been the primary spokesman for the plan now, has long argued that the deal is "a win" for patients, employees, and taxpayers. He's also said that it will allow Metro to shift its focus to Nashville General Hospital, which he says should be the priority when it comes to subsidies to Metro's Hospital Authority. Metro's annual subsidies to the Bordeaux and Knowles facilities of around $10.5 million will be phased out over three years.
The nuts and bolts of the plan from our story last month, after the jump:
The plan has Kentucky-based Signature Healthcare paying $1.3 million to operate 260 licensed beds at the Bordeaux facility, which has 419 licensed beds but currently serves about 220 residents. Signature would also invest $250,000 in improvements to the existing facility and build and operate a new $18 million, 168-bed skilled nursing facility on Dickerson Pike near Skyline Medical Center. Metro subsidies to the Bordeaux facility — about $8.7 million annually — would decrease annually, and be eliminated within three years.
For the Knowles Home, Metro would lease the facility to Autumn Assisted Living Partners, an affiliate of Nashville-based Vision Real Estate Investment Corp. Vision would pay Metro $500,000 for the facility, plus $1,000 annually during the 10-year lease. Approximately $1.8 million in annual Metro subsidies to Knowles would be eliminated beginning July 1 of this year. (Vision also has long-term plans for acquiring and redeveloping a total of 76.6 acres around the campus.)
No residents would be displaced under the plan, and Bordeaux residents would be given the option to stay put or move to Signature's new facility once it's built. Officials say more than 90 percent of the employees at the two facilities "will be offered positions with new employers at the same salary they currently earn." All employees at Knowles will be able to keep their jobs, and Metro officials say they will work to find new positions for 32 non-clinical employees whose jobs will be eliminated at Bordeaux.
As for the employees, Maynard announced Tuesday that the Service Employees International Union Local 205, which represents thousands of Metro workers, had reached an agreement with Signature.