Bedford County Supervisors have voted for the county to continue operating the Bedford County Nursing Home. Last night’s unanimous vote came a week after a public hearing where nearly two dozen people spoke against selling the nursing home to a private buyer. Supervisors had said the home would be better run by an industry expert, and that they opposed the mandatory federal vaccine requirement for healthcare workers. But the county administrator says that after hearing from the public, supervisors changed their minds. He says while the nursing home has a long waiting list for residents, it is short-staffed. The county will begin work on a new campaign to hire nurses and other staff.  

Here is more information from Bedford County:

Board Votes Unanimously to Continue Operations at Bedford County Nursing Home

(Bedford, VA)—During their regular meeting on Monday, April 25, the Bedford County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to continue operating the Bedford County Nursing Home as a county department. Their vote came a week after a special-called public hearing regarding the potential sale of the nursing home to a private buyer.

“This is why we have public hearings. The Board received impactful comments from the community and that feedback was important to them in their decision-making process. They listened and processed what they heard, ultimately making the decision to keep the nursing home operating as a county department,” said County Administrator Robert Hiss.

At the public hearing on April 18, Supervisors listened as 22 people spoke out against the proposed deal, citing the long history of the nursing home in the community as well as concerns about maintaining the facility’s quality environment.

Supervisors were exploring the idea of selling the nursing home due to a list of concerns, including the complex regulatory environment surrounding nursing homes, staffing shortages over the past couple of years, and the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which is required for nursing home employees but no other county departments.

While the nursing home has a long waiting list for residents, it is currently operating at two-thirds capacity due to a shortage of employees. To address this, county administration is already working closely with the nursing home and human resources on a new hiring campaign for CNAs and LPNs, including a video PSA.

After Monday night’s vote, Supervisors also discussed the idea of creating a committee of industry experts to focus specifically on the nursing home, hopefully reducing the burden of these decisions for Supervisors. The Bedford County Nursing Home is the only nursing home in the Commonwealth of Virginia that reports to a Board of Supervisors.

No decisions were made regarding a committee, but conversations about the nursing home are expected to continue in the coming months.