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St. Croix advertises for operators to buy, lease nursing home

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St. Croix advertises for operators to buy, lease nursing home
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

St. Croix County has begun the process of seeking proposals from businesses interested in buying or renting the county-owned nursing home or in partnering to develop a new nursing home or campus.

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Health and Human Services Director Fred Johnson reported Tuesday that the HHS Committee released a request for proposals, implementing a plan approved by the County Board in late October.

The St. Croix Health Center is a 72-bed nursing home in New Richmond. It is certified for both Medicaid and Medicare.

The request for proposals, which is also available over the county's Web page, was directed to licensed nursing home operators, assisted living providers, other health care providers and real estate and economic development groups.

Proposals may be submitted to:

• Buy the St. Croix County Health Center,

• Lease the nursing home with provisions to purchase, or

• Enter into a partnership to build and operate a new nursing home and/or assisted living facility in New Richmond.

Johnson said the RFP went out to businesses that staff or committee members thought might be interested and is also available online. To find it, go to www.co.saint-croix.wi.us and click on "Procurement."

An informational meeting for parties interested in responding to the RFP will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 3 at the Health Center. That meeting will include an overview and a question-and-answer session, followed by a tour of the building.

Proposals, with one original and 15 copies, must be submitted to Management Systems Specialist Dana Baker by 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15.

Proposals must contain a letter of intent regarding one of the three options, background of the organization submitting the proposal, three references, and a two-page summary of why the organization is interested in this opportunity and which options it is willing to consider.

During Tuesday's County Board meeting, Supervisor Tom Caflisch worried about leading people to believe that the county is willing to help build a new facility, "when we don't know what we're doing."

He said he has a problem with implying the county is interested in any kind of partnership in a construction project.

"If we‚re going to make a change, we need to look at this creatively," replied Supervisor Gordon Awsumb, town of Kinnickinnic. He said the city of St. Peter, Minn., partnered with a non-profit organization to build a nursing home next to a hospital.

In that case, the parties evidently worked out a plan to set aside rent money for a down payment and the city plans to use its bonding authority to help build a new facility.

St. Croix County has subsidized the nursing home for many years, and the County Board‚s goal when it started this process was to avoid being "saddled with this responsibility," said Supervisor Tom Caflisch. He said the intent is to relieve county taxpayers of the need to financially support the nursing home.

The facility employs over 100 people and it is also the intent of the Health and Human Services Board to convert this to a private business that continues to employ those people, responded Awsumb.

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