Homecare agency may have a new homeGoodhue County officials will begin negotiating with a Minnesota company interested in taking over the county's public health homecare agency.
By: Jen Cullen, The Republican Eagle
Goodhue County officials will begin negotiating with a Minnesota company interested in taking over the county's public health homecare agency.
Accra Care - based in Hopkins, Minn. - submitted a $456,000 bid for the program, including its Medicare license, client list and employees. Two other agencies submitted lower bids.
"It seems like this is a reputable agency that's been around a lot and has been serving a lot of people," said Karen Main, Goodhue County Public Health Service director.
Commissioners earlier this year told staff to begin privatizing the homecare program, which provides skilled nursing, home health aides, and physical and occupational therapy to about 150 Goodhue County residents.
The county had been seeking more than $1 million for the agency but changed its strategy after receiving two bids last month that were significantly lower than the asking price.
Officials extended the deadline for bids and drafted a new proposal request without a minimum asking price in hopes of drawing more lucrative offers. Officials opened the bids Tuesday morning.
Accra Care provides personal care attendants and homemaker services like shopping, cleaning and meal planning.
"It sounds like they're ready to hit the ground running," said Stephen Betcher, Goodhue County attorney.
Main told commissioners Tuesday she believes Accra - which already provides some services in Goodhue County - would offer jobs to most of Goodhue County's aides and homemakers.
Main said Accra also will serve all the county's current clients, who would have the choice of staying with the new provider or finding private services.
"This is a very good thing because the people are going to get taken care of and positions will be open for our employees," Main said.
Commissioners have remained adamant that rural residents and those with more complicated cases retain services when the county no longer operated the homecare program.
"We're concerned about that," Commissioner Richard Samuelson said.
Accra currently does not have a Red Wing office but Main said the agency would open a local location if it does take over the homecare program.
Main hopes the county can transfer ownership by the end of the year. Eliminating the program - either through a sale or privatization of homecare services - will save money. This year the program cost the county $278,000.