Lake County considering pact for new Winchester House

Lake County officials are considering a pact with a private entity that would start the clock on the end of the Winchester House nursing home.

A proposed three-year contract with Transitional Care Management of Rosemont, for the lease and replacement of the Winchester House, essentially would end the county's longtime involvement with the facility in Libertyville that opened in 1847 as a poor farm.

Winchester House has always been a financial drain on the county, and an effort to determine the best course of action began in 2007 with the creation of an advisory panel. The intent was to "try to find the best way to build a new Winchester House that's financially responsible," according to Ryan Waller, assistant county administrator.

The buildings that makeup the Winchester House complex on the Lake County government campus, north of Winchester Road and west of Milwaukee Avenue, date to 1942 with the five-story addition completed in the 1970s.

The county partnered with the private sector to run the facility in 2011. But after extensive research, the advisory group last summer recommended - and the county board approved - requests for proposals to create a new Winchester House.

Twelve companies asked for documents and two submitted proposals. Transitional Care Management was selected after review by the advisory board, county administrator, state's attorney and finance and administrative services department.

The proposed agreement is for a not-to-exceed figure of about $6.7 million. Under the terms, the company would lease the existing facility while building a replacement skilled nursing facility at another location. The site would be within the Lake County market, but off the county government campus.

"This is a three-year process to get a new Winchester House. Anybody in the facility now is guaranteed a spot in the new Winchester House," Waller said. "There are levels of protection in the document for Lake County residents." About 170 patients currently live at Winchester House.

Waller said there are several regulatory steps that would need state approval before the project could proceed.

The county board's health and community services committee is scheduled to consider the contract and an agreement to transfer the management and operations Tuesday, and the board's finance committee will consider the same recommendations Wednesday. The full county board is expected to consider the measures May 12.


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