MORRIS COUNTY — The Morris County Board of Freeholders last night passed a resolution consenting to the lease of the Morris View Healthcare Center, and authorizing the Morris County Improvement Authority to finalize an agreement with Allaire Healthcare Group of Freehold to lease the facility.
The MCIA expects to conclude negotiations with Allaire in the coming weeks. The private company should take over Morris View operations in the fall.
The tentative contract calls for Allaire to pay the county $2.3 million annually, to lease Morris View, which is a 283-bed county owned and operated nursing home and sub-acute rehabilitation facility located in Morris Township.
The initial proposal submitted by Allaire included providing Morris County $2.7 million per year. During contract negotiations, Morris County’s Proposal Review Committee recommended that staffing and program enhancements at Morris View, which were identified as priorities by residents and family members, be incorporated into the final contract.
The Freeholder Board’s commitment to ensure quality of resident care concurred with these enhancements and reduced the annual lease payment by $400,000, to $2.3 million.
Combined with a reduction in costs to the county to operate Morris View, the $2.3 million annual lease could result in an initial total annual savings to Morris County taxpayers of $4 million to $6 million, and up to $8 million a year by the end of the decade.
However, even with the positive financial outlook, the freeholders stressed again yesterday that a continued high quality of patient care will be essential to the continuation of any lease arrangement.
“It is important to note that during the lease agreement Morris County will continue to own Morris View and we will closely monitor the quality of care offered by Allaire,’’ said Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “The health and welfare of the residents at Morris View remains our priority.’’
Meanwhile, in the short term, Allaire will assume management of Morris View starting on July 1. That is when the county’s existing management contract for Morris View with Premier Healthcare expires.
However, during the interim period, and until the lease arrangement with Allaire takes effect in the fall, the county remains ultimately responsible for day-to-day operations and decisions regarding Morris View.
Allaire CEO Ben Kurland and Director of Care Management Brie Gallo briefed the Morris County Freeholders on his company’s current operations and plans for Morris View.
Kurland said Allaire expects to retain most of the current Morris View staff, has already begun a continuing dialogue with patients’ families, will meet quarterly with county officials to review operations, and has begun a dialogue with hospitals and the medical community in Morris County.
In addition, Kurland said Allaire will emphasize continuing education for the staff and administration, with an emphasis on new technology. He also promised an enhanced slate of programs and activities for patients.
“This is their home – it needs to run like a cruise ship for them,’’ Kurland said. “We may not be the county, but we hope to be the best alternative to running Morris View for our residents.’’
In May, with approval of the Freeholders, the MCIA selected Allaire as the company best qualified from eight applicants to lease and run Morris View based on evaluation criteria approved by the State Comptrollers’ Office. Factors considered by the panel, included staffing capabilities, operational practices, quality control, and financial viability.
Allaire previously purchased and is successfully operating the former Monmouth County John L. Montgomery nursing home, a 174-bed facility that had been owned and managed by Monmouth County government.