Bedford County residents voice concerns over potential plans to sell county’s nursing home

American HealthCare LLC withdrew its bid just hours before the special, public hearing

Bedford County residents are starting an outcry over healthcare.

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – There was thunderous applause from residents as Bedford County Administrator Robert Hiss announced Monday that American HealthCare LLC, a Roanoke-based healthcare company, withdrew its bid to purchase the county’s nursing home.

“I wasn’t surprised at all by the reaction,” Hiss told 10 News Tuesday.

The reaction at the special, public hearing came as Bedford’s Board of Supervisors considers selling the facility to a private company.

Leaders cited financial struggles, saying the nursing home will likely end this fiscal year in the red.

Board Chairman John Sharp also voiced concerns over the Board being forced to implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for the employees, since most of the patients receive federal Medicaid funding.

“The overarching discussion really is, ‘should the county government be in the business of running a nursing home?” said Hiss.

Hiss says it is the only nursing home in Virginia that reports directly to county administration.

More than 20 residents spoke out at the meeting, wanting it to stay that way.

“Don’t sell your nursing home! Bedford County is so proud of its nursing home!” said one woman, who says her mother is a resident.

“I don’t want that nursing home closed. My wife is there and has been for three years,” said one man.

“I feel like that we were somewhat blind-sighted,” said another resident.

“It’s immaculate. They really do give excellent care,” said another woman.

Hiss says the facility is understaffed by about 20 employees -- and while they’re licensed for 90 beds, the center is only two-thirds full.

With the withdrawal from American HealthCare, county leaders are now determining the next steps, but as of this reporting, Hiss says closing the nursing home is not an option.

“I have not had an indication, at all, that we’re interested in closing the nursing home,” said Hiss.

And the decision should not impact taxpayers financially.

“No taxpayer dollars are being lost. The nursing home is its own, financial enterprise fund,” said Hiss.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.