Questions about Willow Terrace owner after nursing home collapse in Nebraska and Kansas
Skyline Healthcare, a nursing home chain created by Joseph Schwartz, has taken over at least 100 nursing homes across seven states since 2015 -- a rate of expansion that is alarming given that he appears to have no means to support it.
"It's hard enough to add 10 nursing homes to a small-to-medium sized company in one year, let alone 100 in two years," Steve Monroe, the managing editor of the trade journal SeniorCare Investor, told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Indeed, news broke in late March 2017 that 36 of Skyline's facilities in Nebraska and Kansas would need to be placed under state control because the company could not make its payroll obligations. Other nursing home management companies were appointed, through court orders, to oversee operations of the facilities until a new owner can be found or the residents moved. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has authorized the use of civil money penalty funds to help pay for the nursing homes' expenses to ensure the safety and well-being of residents if needed.
Though the thousands of residents at the homes are, for the moment, getting adequate care, employees at the facilities have been left in the dark about their futures. At least one administrator started a GoFundMe campaign to help employees who are still showing up to care for residents despite not receiving a paycheck.
Wilkes & McHugh Managing Attorney Bill Murray, familiar with the Skyline chain and its owner, grew concerned when he learned Schwartz would assume operations of 10 Philadelphia-area nursing homes from the national chain Golden Living Centers.
“I think it’s very concerning that operators like Skyline and Mr. Schwartz are allowed to take over dozens or more facilities at a time,” Murray told The Philadelphia Inquirer, adding that Schwartz has a track record, evident in lawsuits over unpaid bills, of lacking the financial wherewithal to successfully operate a facility. "It's the residents who get hurt."
Murray filed extensive right-to-know requests from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to try to determine if officials adequately evaluated Schwartz and Skyline to make sure they could provide quality care in the homes. Read more about the results of his efforts in The Philadelphia Inquirer article.