Potential health center buyer ID’d

Barbara S. Miller/Observer-Reporter

Washington County Commission Chairman Larry Maggi and Vice Chairman Diana Irey Vaughan discuss the pending sale of the Washington County Health Center with employees of the 288-bed facility after a commissioners meeting.

Washington County’s care of the indigent – its mission for 187 years - came to an end Dec. 1, 2017, when the sale of the Washington County Health Center was finalized.

In January 2017, the Washington County commissioners hired a Harrisburg attorney, Mark Stewart, who gave a slide presentation explaining why it wasn’t feasible to keep using taxpayer and other dollars to subsidize care at the 40-year-old, 288-bed county health center, which had been $9 million in the red since 2012. A steady stream of health center employees spoke at commissioners meetings for months on the topic, to no avail.

Stewart represented the county in the sale, which was originally slated to take place in the beginning of October. But Oct. 1 came and went without a transaction. The county transferred operation of the health center to Premier Healthcare LLC of Philadelphia on Oct. 20, for $2.5 million, and the $25.35 sale of the real estate was completed Dec. 1. The new name of the facility is Premier Washington Health Center.

According to Washington County Finance Director Joshua Hatfield, the only expenditures from the proceeds of the sale so far went toward legal and subdivision fees. “An overall plan or use of the money has not yet been determined by the board of commissioners,” he said in late December. 

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