Stanly commissioners begin process of selling home health agency

The Stanly County Board of Commissioners started the process of showing the county’s intent to sell its home health care agency at Monday’s meeting.

Passing with a 5-1 result, with Commissioner Bill Lawhon as the lone nay vote, the Board approved a resolution to allow county staff to move forward with the process of divesting and selling the home health care agency. Chairman Matthew Swain was unable to attend the meeting.

Lawhon later said he voted against the motion because the agency has been part of the county for a long time, has delivered good services and has “pretty much broken even except for the last several years.” He added the home health service made money for some years as well.

“I’m opposed to the sale because I think there’s got to be a way to try to get it to break even,” Lawhon said. “What can we do to get this thing profitable?”

The decision to move forward with the plans was made, according to documents in the board’s agenda packet, at the February 2020 planning retreat. The document further stated the county was moving forward with the sale “due to the operational and financial challenges the County’s Home Health Agency has faced over the past several years, coupled with its loss of market share.”

A public hearing on the issue will be conducted at the next commissioners meeting set for Sept. 8.

“Once we do the (resolution)…(the lawyers) will go through the process of doing the RFP (request for proposal) that will be on the street for companies to submit their proposals,” County Manager Andy Lucas said at Monday’s meeting.

Companies bidding will have to meet a set of expectations from the Board, Lucas said, which included maintaining the level of service the agency currently offers along with indigent care and certain annual reports.

Bids are expected back by October, when Lucas said staff will review them. Another public hearing will have to take place in October as well on potential bidders before the Board can make a decision in late October or early November.

Lucas also said county staff had fulfilled statutory requirements by sending letters to the state’s Department of Health and Humans Services and the Office of Management and Budget of the county’s intention to start the process of selling the agency.