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Beaver nursing home sale finalized

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By Sam Spatter
Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Beaver County's ownership of the Friendship Ridge nursing home ended on Wednesday with the completion of a $37.5 million sale to Comprehensive HealthCare Management Services LLC of New Jersey.

It was the second recent deal by a Western Pennsylvania county to sell a nursing home.

Butler County commissioners approved an agreement to sell the 220-bed Sunnyview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to Investment 360 of Lakewood, N.J. for $20.4 million. Investment 360 must obtain a state license and meet other conditions before that sale can close.

Comprehensive HealthCare has been operating the 600-bed Beaver County home since Feb. 28, but the closing on the sale officially relieves the county of running the home, which has been losing money for several years.

Because a private company now owns the home, the county can collect real estate taxes. This could generate $100,000 a year for the county and $260,000 for the Beaver Area School District, along with $40,000 to Brighton, where the home is located, Comprehensive HealthCare representatives said.

Initially, the company plans to update the lobby and common areas, add 60 beds and renovate the center to create private and semi-private rooms with private bathrooms. Currently, residents of the home share quad units.

The company is working with architects to determine exact plans, said Andina Barone, a Comprehensive HealthCare representative.

Residents won't be displaced while renovations are made, although some internal shifting may occur during the first phase of work, which may take 12 to 16 months.

A new rehabilitation complex where residents can access more specialty activities, such as ventilation, stroke rehabilitation and diabetic programs, is planned, said Sam Halper, the new chief executive officer. David E. Gritzer was named administrator.

Comprehensive HealthCare will conduct departmental reviews of resident care, safety and organizational staffing and services.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the union that represents Friendship Ridge employees, claims that up to 70 jobs, including vacant ones because of retirements, may be lost.

Halper said 35 full-time and 15 part-time jobs, not including retirees, may be cut temporarily. He noted, however, that the expansion the company is considering will lead to a review of staffing levels, and more workers could be hired.

The Sunnyview deal reduces the workforce at the Butler County facility by about 250 people, who are expected to become employees of Investment 360. All but 50 employees are represented by the Service Employees International Union. Completion of that sale is expected by the end of May.

Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7843 or sspatter@tribweb.com.

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