MANSFIELD TWP., N.J. - A report on the future of Warren County's nursing home was unveiled to Freeholders and the public Tuesday night.
The Freeholders of Warren County have accepted an "aggressive agenda" as a last ditch effort to revitalize the county-owned Warren Haven nursing home before July 1st.
The nursing home, located at 350 Oxford Road in Mansfield Twp., is currently facing millions in debt.
The comprehensive plan, proposed by an adjunct advisory committee of volunteers at Tuesday's meeting, outlines and prioritizes numerous steps that must be taken by the board, the employees of Warren Haven and the surrounding community in order to keep the institution from being privatized.
It includes renegotiating labor costs and benefit packages with work unions, privatizing the position of nursing home administrator and asking community members to organize a 501(c)(3) corporation to field donations.
The advisory committee also stressed the importance of investing in advertising.
"Warren Haven is a fairly unknown facility," said Karen Kubert. "The residents of Warren County are going elsewhere [and] we need to stop that as soon as possible."
They also recommended hiring a full-time marketing liaison to proactively get the facility more traffic.
"It is a very aggressive agenda," said Kubert.
"Necessarily so," replied Freeholder Jason Sarnoski.
If the Warren County Freeholders are unable to achieve significant progress on these steps by the proposed deadline of July 1st, the advisory committee recommended looking to sell the facility to a private entity.
"While we have a plan to stay open, I think we need to move forward," said Sarnoski.
In the event that the Warren County Freeholders opts to privatize Warren Haven, the advisory committee recommended that several criteria be met by the purchaser, including ensuring that no current occupants are forced to relocate and that all employees are giving their "first right to refusal" to maintain their posts.
The Department of Long Term Care Services at Warren Haven is currently facing a debt in the range of 2.5 to 3.5 million dollars. Compounding the issue, multiple Freeholders remarked that with the downward trending Medicaid benefits made available to New Jersey municipalities, the situation is only getting worse.
According to officials, Warren Haven currently has a projected occupancy rate of 83%, falling among the lower tiers of comparative institutions.
"It's going to take a lot of effort and a lot of cooperation from the community," said Freeholder Ed Smith. "Everybody has to come together."
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