UMMS seeks buyer for Ch­ester­town nurs­ing home

Kent County News - - NEWS - By TR­ISH MCGEE pm­cgee@thekent­coun­tynews.com

CH­ESTER­TOWN — The Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Med­i­cal Sys­tem is get­ting out of the nurs­ing home busi­ness, an of­fi­cial with Shore Regional Health told the mayor and coun­cil here Mon­day night.

Ken Kozel, pres­i­dent and CEO of Shore Regional Health, which is a mem­ber of UMMS, ac­knowl­edged the sig­nif­i­cance of Shore Nurs­ing and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter at Ch­ester­town. He said it is an im­por­tant place­ment fa­cil­ity for Shore Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Ch­ester­town pa­tients who no longer need hos­pi­tal care.

Shore Nurs­ing and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter is the only nurs­ing home in the $4 bil­lion Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Med­i­cal Sys­tem, Kozel said.

And as changes are made in the nurs­ing home in­dus­try, “we at Shore in the hos­pi­tal busi­ness are not the right party to be man­ag­ing that fa­cil­ity … but we have a firm be­lief that it does pro­vide a valu­able re­source and sup­port for the com­mu­nity.” Kozel said.

The one-story fa­cil­ity at 200 Morgnec Road has 92 li­censed beds.

It was founded more than 40 years ago as Mag­no­lia Hall Nurs­ing Home.

As the own­er­ship and name of the hos­pi­tal here has changed — from Kent & Queen Anne’s Hos­pi­tal to Ch­ester River Hos­pi­tal Cen­ter to the cur­rent Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Shore Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Ch­ester­town — so has that of the nurs­ing home.

When Ch­ester River Health Sys­tem merged with UMMS in June 2008, what was then known as Ch­ester River Manor was re­named UM Shore Nurs­ing and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter.

Kozel said Shore Regional Health is in the process of putting out a re­quest for pro­pos­als to see if there is a part­ner that will take over the op­er­a­tion and fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

In the search for what Kozel de­scribed as the “right part­ner,” Shore Regional Health has es­tab­lished con­di­tions that must be met be­fore an agree­ment is signed. The pur­chaser must agree to keep the fa­cil­ity open and serve the com­mu­nity as a long-term care fa­cil­ity and be com­mit­ted to ex­pand­ing the ad­mis­sion cri­te­ria so that pa­tients with higher-acu­ity care needs — beyond the level of care re­quired by those cur­rently at the nurs­ing home — can be ac­com­mo­dated.

Also, the prospec­tive buyer must have the re­sources to cover needed cap­i­tal im­prove­ments. “The build­ing is ag­ing and needs fi­nan­cial sup­port,” Kozel said.

“We be­lieve a part­ner who runs nurs­ing homes is the best suited to help up,” Kozel told the mayor and coun­cil.

“Who do you see as a po­ten­tial buyer? Are there nurs­ing home op­er­a­tions that are look­ing around?” Mayor Chris Cerino asked. “Ab­so­lutely,” Kozel said. “So that’s like a real pos­si­bil­ity?” Cerino asked.

Kozel said as part of the RFP, any­one who is in­ter­ested is re­quired to sign a non-dis­closer form to pre­serve con­fi­den­tial­ity. Within weeks of putting out the RFP, there have been more than 19 re­quests for the non-dis­clo­sure form, he said.

That doesn’t mean all 19 will sub­mit pro­pos­als, but there is in­ter­est, Kozel said.

“I’m en­cour­aged,” he said, “but we’re also go­ing to stick to our guns and make sure that the right new owner is ap­pro­pri­ate based on the con­di­tions that we set.”

Best case sce­nario, it’s pos­si­ble that by spring 2018 an agree­ment will be reached and the tran­si­tion process can be­gin, Kozel said.

“So it’s un­com­mon for hos­pi­tals to run nurs­ing homes?” Coun­cil­man Sam Shoge asked.

“It is, but we see them as im­por­tant in the con­tin­uum of care. It’s needed in the com­mu­nity to sup­port hos­pi­tal pa­tients who need to be dis­charged into the right care fa­cil­ity,” Kozel said.

In ques­tion­ing by sev­eral coun­cil mem­bers, Kozel said Shore Regional Health would con­sider an in­ter­gen­er­a­tional fa­cil­ity if it met the very spe­cific re­quire­ments spelled out in the RFP.

PHOTO BY TR­ISH MCGEE

From left, Ch­ester­town Mayor Chris Cerino, Town Man­ager Bill Inger­soll, Sec­ond Ward Coun­cil­woman Linda Kuiper and First Ward Coun­cil­woman Liz Gross hear Ken Kozel talk about the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Med­i­cal Sys­tem’s plans to sell its nurs­ing home on Morgnec Road. Kozel is pres­i­dent and CEO of Shore Regional Health, which is a mem­ber of UMMS.

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