Thursday, July 28th, 2016

MORRIS COUNTY IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY WILL HANDLE THE PROPOSALS PROCESS 

The Morris County Board of Freeholders last night voted to authorize the development of a request for proposals (RFP) for the potential private management of the county’s Morris View Healthcare Center, a 283-bed county nursing home in Morris Township.

MC

The freeholder’s stressed that the county is retaining ownership of the facility and would write specific patient care requirements into the RFP to ensure that any private management company considered by the county for a lease to run Morris View would maintain the high quality of care now offered to elderly and disabled residents living there.

To better guarantee the choice of a high quality private health care provider, the freeholders will employ the Morris County Improvement Authority to handle the RFP process, which could give the county more flexibility in choosing the most qualified respondent. The freeholders would have the final say in that process.

It is expected that an RFP will be issued by the end of summer, with proposals due in the fall and a potential decision made by the end of the year.

The board voted 5-2 to start the RFP process. Freeholders Christine Myers and John Cesaro voted against it.

In its Request for Proposals, the county will require private companies to allow all current Morris View employees an opportunity to apply for positions, and to give them priority in filling positions.

Kathy DeFillippo

Kathy DeFillippo

In addition, the county will consider potential employment options for long-time Morris View employees who are nearing retirement, to protect their retirement and/or health care benefits.

“We intend to move ahead very carefully, to ensure that any proposals considered by the freeholders will include strict controls that safeguard the quality of care of our residents, “ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo. “We hope to draw some very qualified responses to our RFP that should include some high quality private management providers.’’

“The county intends to write into the RFP some reasonable but firm requests for requirements that would offer strong protections for our residents,’’ she added.

The resolution approved Wednesday night by the Board Freeholders directs that:

  • An RFP to lease and manage Morris View to an experienced private health care operator, to provide services without negatively impacting the quality of care, be explored through the Morris County Improvement Authority;
  • The RFP will include staffing standards, guidelines and quality metrics to ensure the quality of resident care is maintained;
  • The Morris View Family and Advisory Committee be given the opportunity to recommend specific items of inclusion to this RFP;
  • Any respondent to the RFP must assure the county of the continuation of the Morris View Family and Advisory Committee;
  • Any respondent to the RFP must assure that no existing residents of Morris View resident will be displaced;
  • All existing Morris View employees will have an opportunity to apply for jobs from the selected private health care provider, and that priority in filling jobs will be given to current Morris View workers;
  • The County Administrator will ensure that impacted Morris View workers and their labor bargaining units be contacted to review potential job options for Morris View staff who are very close to retirement or lifetime health care benefits, or who might fill a vacant position in another area of Morris County government;
  • Upon the conclusion of the RFP process, the Improvement Authority must get approval of the Freeholder Board before entering into any lease;

Morris ViewConsultant Perselay Associates, retained by the freeholders to do an “independent study’’ of Morris View, projects the tax-supported subsidy to run Morris View will rise from $6.8 million incurred in 2015 to $15.5 million annually by 2020.

The study done by Perselay found that a potential leasing option of Morris View to a private nursing home operator could be a viable solution to respond to the projected financial issues that are likely to impact Morris View, while also maintaining the high quality of care offered at Morris View.
The information compiled by Perselay Associates supplements a 2015 report by done for the county by consultants Marcus and Millichap.

The Perselay study includes a detailed fiscal analysis, a report on findings about county nursing homes in several other counties that have been sold to private owners, and also includes findings from a series of meetings held with the Morris View Advisory Committee and family members of patients at Morris View.

Since 2005, Morris County has commissioned independent consultants and experts to perform various analyses of the facility and make recommendations. They resulted in improved and more efficient and cost-effective operations at Morris View.

Resultant changes have included outsourcing of housekeeping, laundry, dietary, security, dietary management and other services, plus an increase in census and Medicare A revenues, and implementation of management efficiencies. Yet, even with these positive changes, the county remains challenged by the rising costs of long-term health care, the Perselay study found.

Interested county residents are invited to read both the Perselay Report and the Marcus and Millichap Report.