DOBSON — The Surry County Board of Commissioners is set to finalize the sale of the county’s home health operations, a move that could happen Monday night.
The action is expected when the board convenes for its regular meeting in the Commissioner’s Meeting Room in the Surry County Government Center in Dobson.
A resolution is expected to be passed that transfers the home health care in the county to United Home Care Inc., for $2.5 million.
Following a request for proposals (RFP) issued to companies interested in taking over the operations, six offers ranging from United Home Health Care’s high bid to a low bid of $550,000.
While the prices offered for the county’s home health accounts varied widely, County Attorney Ed Woltz said shortly after the numbers were unveiled that individual companies’ current operations in the area could play a part in the disparity.
“A lot of that is a factor of how we geographically fit into the company’s overall plans,” he said. “Some (companies) already have operations across North Carolina and the South, and if they already have a presence in the region, we could be of value to them due to our location, or we could fill a gap in service for the company.”
The operations are being sold to the private sector following years of the county running in the red, according to County Manager Chris Knopf.
He indicated that with private companies available and willing to take over the health care accounts it only makes fiscal sense to privatize the operations.
“Back in the 1960s, when the county started providing those services, there wasn’t a private provider in the county,” he said. “Now there are many private sector providers and the county was losing money. It simply wasn’t paying for itself.”
Over the past several years, providing the services in the county cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. As of this past March, the services had run up a deficit of more than $650,000, a 15.8-percent increase over the 2010-2011 deficit of $550,000.
Within the past five fiscal years, the deficit was lowest in 2009-10, with $95,213, the only time in that period in which the loss did not reach a six-digit figure. By comparison, the previous fiscal year, 2008-09, saw a deficit of $498,709.
The Surry County Board of Commissioners voted earlier this year to cease providing the services, citing financial losses.
The board subsequently approved a severance package for the affected workers that consisted of educational opportunities and two weeks’ salary.
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.