Catholic Health Selling 3 Nursing Homes

January 14, 2014 Updated Jan 14, 2014 at 9:08 AM EDT

By Tracey Drury, Buffalo Business First

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Catholic Health Selling 3 Nursing Homes

January 14, 2014 Updated Jan 14, 2014 at 9:08 AM EDT

Citing multi-million dollar losses, Catholic Health has agreed to sell three of its seven longterm care facilities to an out-of-town operator.

Pending approvals from the State Department of Health, Catholic Health will sell the sites to Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services LLC, which operates nursing homes and adult living facilities in four states.

The sites to be sold: St. Francis of Williamsville, a 142-bed skilled nursing/sub-acute care facility; and two adult homes, 117-bed St. Elizabeth's Home of Lancaster and 40-bed St. Vincent's Home of Dunkirk. Together, the homes employ about 315 associates.

Selling the sites is a fate better than shutting them down, a possibility mentioned by Catholic Health in documents filed with the state last March as part of a larger merger of its hospitals and other operations. At the time, officials said they were reviewing operations at the sites with the possibility of closing the facilities to assure system-wide financial stability.

Together, the three sites lost $1.7 million in two years: St. Francis Home had average operating losses of $980,000; St. Elizabeth Home had average losses of $500,000; while St. Vincent averaged losses of $207,500. The numbers come from audited 2011 data and unaudited 2012 data filed with the state. Losses for 2013 are projected at $3 million more.

Mark Sullivan, Catholic Health executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the organization is committed to providing longterm care as part of its overall continuum of care. But it also came to realize that it might not have to own the sites to ensure access.

"Are there collaborations or partnerships, or maybe divesting ownership but still having resources through another provider?" Sullivan said.

The buyer was identified this summer and has expressed interest in keeping existing staff and making improvements at all three sites. The price has yet to be finalized.

"Their plans are to continue all three ministries, and they plan on investing in all three sites. Their No. 1 concern is making sure the residents' qualitative experience is not disrupted," Sullivan said. "We spent a lot of time over the holidays working with the providers and we do know they want to maintain the high quality care and homelike feeling that all three sites have."

Comprehensive Healthcare operates several nursing and adult homes in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Oklahoma and Missouri.

Catholic Health will continue to operate its four other skilled nursing facilities: Father Baker Manor in Orchard Park, Mercy Nursing Facility in Lackawanna, St. Catherine Labourè Health Care Center in Buffalo and McAuley Residence in Tonawanda. Those sites will be included moving forward in a full-asset merger with Catholic Health's three hospitals.

The sale has been approved by Catholic Health's board of directors but must still be approved by state regulators. The sale process may take up to a year to complete, during which time Catholic Health will continue to operate the sites and work with employees and residents during the transition.

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