State review board report raises no red flags on nursing home sale

State review board report raises no red flags on nursing home sale

URBANA — The pending $11 million sale of the Champaign County Nursing Home is headed to a hearing before a state review board without any negative findings from the board's staff.

The transfer of the property and operation of the county-owned nursing home meets all the requirements under a state administrative-code section dealing with long-term-care facilities, according to a report released Tuesday by the staff of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board.

The anticipated completion date of the sale of the county-owned nursing home is Nov. 30, according to the staff report. That's pending approval by the board at its next public hearing Oct. 30 in Bolingbrook.

The sale could potentially be finalized between Oct. 31 and Nov. 30, according to Champaign County Administrator Deb Busey.

The state board staff report noted the sole bidder for the nursing home, Altitude Acquisitions LLC, is a "placeholder" entity under the ownership interest of William "Avi" Rothner, who has ownership interest in several nursing homes in Illinois and Indiana. The nursing home and its real estate would actually be transferred to the newly created companies, University Rehabilitation Center of C-U LLC and University Rehab Real Estate LLC, at the sale closing.

The purchasers have predicted the 243-bed nursing home will have a mix of 80 percent Medicaid and 20 percent Medicare patients.

The change of ownership will have "little to no impact" on long-term care facilities in the service area, the staff report said.

"Under terms of the proposed agreement, no new services will be introduced, no restrictive admission policies will be introduced and an open admission policy will remain at the facility," the report said.

The state board staff also found the proposed sale conforms with criteria for financial viability, reasonableness of debt financing, project costs and the projected operating costs per patient day of about $216.

The buyers intend to fund the sale with $2.75 million in cash and securities and cover the rest with a mortgage, the report said.

The staff report going to the board isn't deterring an opponent to the sale, Champaign County Health Care Consumers, from continuing to object. The group plans to submit written information to the board and to voice opposition at the hearing, according to its executive director, Claudia Lennhoff.

A member of the evaluation committee appointed by the county board to review the purchase offer, Lennhoff said she objected to a reference in the board staff report that the committee recommended the sale in April 2018.

The group's task was to see if the applicant met the criteria for the county's request for proposals, she said.

"We wanted to be on the record that this was not recommended for approval. That was not our charge," Lennhoff said.

She is also critical of the shift in companies identified in the purchase process, saying there's no track record to evaluate the two new companies winding up as the buyers. Evanston-based Extended Care Clinical LLC and Altitude Health Services Inc. were formerly identified as the nursing-home buyers.

"It just feels like a bait and switch and a shell game," Lennhoff said.

Her group plans to take a closer look at the track records of the nursing homes owned by Rothner and affiliated companies and report the information to the board, she said.

The nursing home sale falls under the state board's review authority because it involves an ownership transfer of a county-owned facility.

The board hearing is set to begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 30 at the Bolingbrook Golf Club. The nursing home sale is one of many cases on the agenda.

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