Facing squeeze, nursing home to be sold
Things were tough for the Jewish Home of Greater Harrisburg even before the pandemic.
- Like other skilled nursing homes, the nonprofit facility was spending more to care for residents than it was being reimbursed by Medicaid – $100 more per resident per day, according to Richard Spiegelman, president of the nonprofit’s board.
- Then when Covid-19 struck in 2020, the nursing home saw fewer referrals from hospitals, which were cutting back on elective surgeries.
- Hospitals cranked back up but the nursing home struggled to bring back staff and return to full capacity amid a general labor shortage.
- It’s licensed for 138 beds but hovered around 100 residents throughout 2021, said Spiegelman. About two-thirds are covered by Medicaid.
- By June, as the nursing home began dipping into its $4 million endowment, the board was exploring a sale.
What’s the financial picture: The nonprofit, originally founded in 1974, lost about $1.2 million last year, Spiegelman said, noting that the results have not yet been audited.
- The loss would have been about $3.4 million but for government stimulus programs.
- The home was projected to lose $2.7 million this year, he said.
Who’s the buyer: After a competitive process that attracted four bidders, the facility is being sold to Tryko Partners, a New Jersey-based investment firm that has bought other nursing homes in Pennsylvania over the last few years.
- Tryko tied for the high bid but was picked based on its track record, Spiegelman said.
- The board scoured federal data, for example, to gauge quality of care at other facilities owned by Tryko, as well as what happened after facilities changed ownership.
- Families and patient advocates often fear care will decline after a nursing home is sold.
- “That was a fairly rigorous process that we went through,” Spiegelman said.
- He declined to name the other bidders.
What’s next: The deal is expected to close in mid to late March, Spiegelman said.
- He declined to reveal the sale price but said it included the real estate and the business itself, including its licenses.
- The campus at 4000 Linglestown Road in Lower Paxton Township includes the 138-bed nursing home, as well as a 58-unit personal care home called The Residence.
- The buyers pledged to continue the nonprofit’s mission and earn the trust of residents, families and employees.
- “The Jewish Home and Residence provides outstanding care for the Jewish community and larger population,” Uri Kahanow, Tryko’s director of acquisitions, said in a statement.
- Tryko's recent acquisitions include Westminster Village, a retirement community in Allentown that was owned by Dillsburg-based Presbyterian Senior Living.
- Tryko partners with a specialty consulting firm, Marquis Health Consulting Services, to operate its facilities.
Where are the sale proceeds going: Into a fund that includes the endowment for the nursing home, which is under the umbrella of Harrisburg-based Jewish Community Foundation of Central Pennsylvania.
- The fund will support projects that benefit the health and well-being of senior citizens, regardless of religion, Spiegelman said.
What about the staff: The home employs about 200 people, including some employed by vendors for food, physical therapy and other services.
- Spiegelman did not anticipate any cuts, given the need for staff.
- “The new operator is going to be straining every nerve to keep every employee that they can,” he said.
- However, some senior leaders, such as the CEO and controller, may be let go, he said.
The bottom line: Nursing-home advocates have been complaining for years about inadequate payments from Medicaid, a state-run health care program partially funded by the federal government.
- The issue has cropped up in the sale or closure of other nursing homes, according to a statement from the board of the Jewish Home.
- The financial challenges also have persuaded local counties to sell their nursing homes.
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WHO'S GAINING FLUENCY: M&T Bank. Based in Buffalo, New York, the bank is converting three branches in Dauphin and York counties into what it describes as multicultural banking centers. The local conversions are part of the bank's expansion of the concept across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The centers, which made their debut in 2020, offer banking and other financial services in the preferred languages of customers.
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Compiled and written by Joel Berg