County: Centre Crest should be converted to nonprofit facility by Nov. 1

If all goes according to plan, Centre Crest will be functioning as a nonprofit facility on Nov. 1.

The Centre County Board of Commissioners released a tentative timeline Tuesday for project milestones. The schedule was compiled by Complete HeathCare Resources, and is subject to change as time moves forward.

“We’re going to shoot for Nov. 1 and hopefully we can stick close to that date,” Chairman Steve Dershem said.

The board started the conversation with the state after a vote last week, and Dershem said that process is moving smoothly.

More than 50 steps are laid out on the schedule, sorted into basic categories such as: organizational structure; communication; licensure and reimbursement; HR and insurance; accounting and IT systems; payroll; accounts payable and vendors; insurance; clinical and billing; banking; contracts; and operations. Some are on the commissioners to complete and others will be solely the function of the new nonprofit and CHR, the management company.

Commissioner Michael Pipe, who voted against starting the transfer, said he wanted the timeline released to the public to help increase transparency with the transfer process.

He said any information that can be released to the public should be, and this timeline provides a good base to be built upon.

“Hopefully this will be the start of the process,” he said. “I’m just trying to push for as much information coming out as possible.”

Pipe said he would like to see other information released. He cited unforeseen costs that might arise, and where money saved through the venture will land in the county’s budget.

One item that wasn’t included in the schedule was an outline for the transfer agreement. Pipe said there have only been informal discussions among the commissioners, but they have not met with the nonprofit board yet on that matter.

Dershem said he sees that process happening later, after the nonprofit is more established. Dershem said he doesn’t anticipate anything out-of-the-ordinary being stipulated in the transfer.

His main concern will be for the home to continue to take care of Medicaid residents, but Dershem wouldn’t want to force a specific percentage of Medicaid patients on the new nonprofit.

“They can’t survive without the Medicaid reimbursements, so I don’t think that’s an issue,” he said.

Nonprofit board members and CHR have voiced a commitment to Medicaid patients, saying the percentage could increase from the 70 percent benchmark that exists now at Centre Crest.