October 20, 2019

New owner of nursing homes worth watching - Daily Leader Extra : Editorials

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New owner of nursing homes worth watching

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Posted: Friday, July 5, 2019 3:41 pm

Legacy Healthcare of Skokie, Ill. has taken over operations of a group of South Dakota nursing homes which have been operated by a receiver since early 2018.

The nursing homes were part of a complex set of companies but known in the state primarily as Golden Living. Two of the homes -- at Madison and Mobridge -- were closed, and a third in Sioux Falls may yet shut its doors.

The takeover by Legacy Healthcare is too late to save the Madison facility, but we believe their success or failure is worth watching.

At the crisis point in May 2018, the facilities were running out of food and medical supplies for residents, hadn't paid wages or health benefits to some employees, and hadn't paid some utilities, which were at risk of being shut off.

Black Hills Receiver, LLC took over in an attempt to care for residents and stabilize operations. It was a particularly difficult rescue situation.

Legacy Healthcare has stated that it has previously revitalized facilities by implementing clinical best practices, advanced medical technology and robust customer service.

Many nursing homes in South Dakota are facing financial challenges, including increasing costs and flat revenues from government support. The state Legislature boosted reimbursement rates during the 2019 session and appropriated $5 million to seek "big-picture" solutions to nursing homes' financial challenges.

We're eager to see what Legacy Healthcare can do with the former Golden Living operations. Can the homes provide good care on tight budgets? Can staff be hired and trained to meet today's requirements? Can the reputations of the nursing homes be restored?

If successful, some of the practices of Legacy may be adopted by other operators. If unsuccessful, the crisis may be revisited.

Legacy has promised it would be in constant contact with the state of South Dakota, regional hospitals and local health-care providers. We're eager to see how the situation unfolds.

-- Jon M. Hunter