DANVILLE — The papers were signed Thursday as Vermilion County officially turned over its long-time nursing home facility to a private owner.
Vermilion County Board Chairman Gary Weinard confirmed the transfer took place around mid-day Thursday at Vermilion Title, ending a year of decision making and several years of debate among county board members and residents alike.
FNR Premier is the new owner of Vermilion Manor Nursing Home after out-bidding another company for the facility, located along Catlin-Tilton Road.
The business transaction came with a unfortunate side, however, as FNR Premier did not retain 39 employees at the facility. A little more than 110 people are employed there.
Speaking Thursday afternoon, Weinard termed the company’s decision “a shock to us.”
“We were under the impression that everyone or virtually everyone would be offered the opportunity to go to work,” he said, adding he was disappointed by the news.
Weinard said he spoke to other officials involved in negotiations and all confirmed his expectations that, at most, up to 10 or 15 employees to be released.
“But not 39; no one was expecting that,” he said.
Vermilion County paid employees through Thursday, entitling them to health insurance through the month of August. That includes the 39 people who were let go.
Weinard said the sale is still a “cup half full” situation, noting that despite the job loss the sale allows the nursing home to stay open, continue to house patients and receive needed improvements.
Although the papers have been signed, both sides continue to work out one issue regarding the agreement, specifically the backlog of Medicaid payments that are still owed to the nursing home.
Weinard said the county and FNR Premier are working to determine whether Vermilion County is going to the keep the payments as they come in or if FNR is going to buy from the county in one lump sum.