Colorado

Jan 8, 2010 9:54 PM by David Ortiviz

State may sell nursing home in Trinidad

Lawmakers are debating whether to sell the only state run nursing home that's open to everyone in Colorado. The nursing home has operated in Trinidad for more than 50 years. However, the state says over the past two years, it's become too expensive to run.

As one of the largest employers and the only nursing home in Las Animas County, commissioners think selling it would be a huge loss. "What's so vital to us is there's between 95 to 100 residents here. There are 125 to 130 state jobs--and both of those are so important to our community," said Jim Montoya, Las Animas County Commissioner.

"It doesn't just house residents from Las Animas County it will affect the whole state because there are residents staying here in this nursing home that are from other parts of the state of Colorado," he added.

The Colorado Department of Human Services says the problem is the nursing home costs too much to run. For the past two fiscal years, the state's been chipping in an average of $85,000 a month to keep it open.

"With the fiscal situation in the state of Colorado we felt that it was time to do something with it," said State Sen. Ken Kester, (R) Las Animas. In 2009, the Colorado State Legislature passed a law allowing the nursing home to be sold.

Las Animas County Commissioners invited lawmakers to tour the facility on Friday--in hopes they'll reconsider selling it.

The past few months, the nursing home has been making money and after seeing the jobs and senior care that are in jeopardy--one lawmaker said maybe they made the wrong choice. "We should take a look at the legislation that we passed, because I don't know that there is a need to sell this facility," said State Rep. Buffie McFadyen, (D) Pueblo West.

The state says if the nursing home is sold, it will encourage bids from buyers who would continue to offer senior care in Trinidad.

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