Northampton County officials will spend the next six months learning who might be interested in buying 37 bed licenses at the Gracedale nursing home, and what the chances are that the state will approve the transfer of the licenses.
Northampton County Council's finance committee decided Thursday to follow a marketing plan for the licenses outlined in a 15-page report from the Pittsburgh consulting firm Carbis Walker.
The report also has words of caution to county officials as they decide who the licenses should be sold to. The "primary consideration" should be to select "potential buyers who are not a threat to take residents that would otherwise go to Gracedale."
Selling the licenses -- or simply surrendering them to the state, which is another option council is considering -- would reduce Gracedale's bed space from 725 to 688.
The study says if the county sells the Gracedale licenses, it could make $740,000 and become eligible for an extra $273,000 a year in incentives from the state for meeting certain occupancy requirements.
The county could sell the licenses to one buyer, or several, the study says.
It also recommends that potential buyers be within a 50-mile driving distance of Gracedale.
Marketing the licenses will take two to four months, the study estimates, and getting the state Department of Public Welfare's approval for the bed license transfers will take another six to 12 months.