GOSHEN—Just like the Pope being Catholic, the sky being blue, and pigs not being able to fly, Valley View’s costing taxpayers money was a certainty for many years.
But last year the nursing facility, which some in the county tried to sell citing its burden to taxpayers, turned a surprising $505,040 profit last year.
According to one audit, the facility had a surplus of $3.4 million, which covered the $2.9 million in taxes it was allocated, with a half a million to spare.
That surplus was aided by a one-time $5 million injection that saved the county from having to make up for a roughly similar state aid payment that never came through.
The $5 million was what the county was given in the 1990s as part of a government program that helped provide Medicare and Medicaid services.
The county was warned it might have to give that money back though, so it never spent it. Last year, the county got word that it wouldn’t have to pay that money back, so in 2015 it was added to Valley View’s budget.
It’s an especially favorable source of revenue for the county, which is partly why the county saw such a favorable return this year. The state aid, which is supposed to be given on an annual basis but often is not, comes with a requirement that the county match it.
The amount of the aid, called an Intergovernmental Transfer (IGT), is notoriously unpredictable, but for the sake of estimating, the county was planning on getting roughly $5 million for last year’s budget. That would mean the Department of Social Services would have to contribute another $5 million to Valley View’s budget to match it.
Because the IGT should be yearly, the county is expecting two payments this year, and has budgeted matching funds based on predictions of what the IGTs will be, said Mike Anagnostakis, the chairman of the county’s Health and Mental Health Committee.
State aid aside, the costs for Valley View have gone down over the last several years, due to things like early retirement and the county collecting more from health insurance companies.
Compared to the first six months of last year, Valley View is operating only about $29,000 behind where it was, Anagnostakis estimates. It is too soon to say whether Valley View will continue to operate in the black, but things are looking up for the county-run facility.
Brian Lee, one of the accountants from HMM, CPAs LLP working on Valley View’s audit said at the Health and Mental Health Committee meeting July 19 that compared to public nursing homes he has worked with in other parts of the state, Valley View is “the best.”
His colleague, Anthony Morrone, agreed.
“We do a lot of nursing home beds in New York state, my company, and this has been one of those turnarounds that I really can’t compare to other places,” he said. “It’s very, very well done.”
This was music to the ears of legislators who fought to keep the facility in county control last year.
Minority Leader Matthew Turnbull was one of them, and said it was thanks to legislators who pushed for an investigative committee to be formed to uncover Valley View’s true cost to taxpayers after there were rumors it was costing taxpayers $20 million a year, and could cost up to $30 million.
Anagonostakis was one of the investigative committee members, and he said what changed his mind on whether to keep the facility was when he asked a prospective buyer why he wanted it.
“He said, ‘Because it shouldn’t be losing $20 million today. You people … are not running it the right way. It should be breaking even or making money for you,'” Anagonostakis said.
The investigative committee made suggestions on how the facility could be run better, and according to the numbers from the last three years, those suggestions appear to be working.
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