The Parkhouse senior nursing facility in Upper Providence Township could be sold, leased, or placed under private management as Montgomery County seeks to reduce its financial responsibility for the unprofitable facility.
The Parkhouse, which can accommodate up to 467 elderly patients, and its two affiliated facilities, which provide rehabilitation and assisted living services, have lost more than $5 million during the last three years.
A request for information (RFI) issued by the county last week seeks proposals from private entities, either for-profit or non-profit, interested in taking over the three facilities' operations.
The county is willing to sell part or all of the 288-acre Parkhouse campus, which dates to 1808 and only about 10 percent of which is occupied by the facilities and their outbuildings.
A lease, a private-public partnership, or other arrangements that could involve the county retaining ownership of the property while an outsourced manager operates the facilities are also possibilities.
County spokesperson Frank Custer sought to emphasize Tuesday that the county is merely exploring its options and that neither a sale nor other transfer of Parkhouse operations is a foregone conclusion.
The RFI "does not imply that any decision has been made," Custer said when reached by telephone.
The RFI states that any party that submits a proposal must be prepared to "continue to offer excellent health care services consistent with Parkhouse's mission statement and commitment to quality care."
More than 700 full-time, part-time, and contract employees work at the Parkhouse and the other two facilities. The county is asking prospective new owners or operators to specify whether they would offer guarantees to existing staff regarding their positions and compensation when taking over.
"One of the county's priorities is to retain as many of the current Parkhouse employees as possible," the RFI states.
The county also is asking interested parties to provide evidence of their financial stability, their relevant experience in operating facilities similar to the Parkhouse, and to specify what steps they might take to ensure that the facility's operator would have a degree of public accountability after a deal was completed.
Prospective new operators could be touring the Parkhouse grounds as early as next week. Proposals are due to the county by April 8.