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Change of ownership sought for troubled Ballston Spa nursing home

Change of ownership sought for troubled Ballston Spa nursing home

Saratoga Center for Rehab and Skilled Nursing Care is on federal watchlist
Change of ownership sought for troubled Ballston Spa nursing home
The Saratoga Center for Rehab & Skilled Nursing Care at 149 Ballston Road is shown on June 3.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

BALLSTON SPA — The Ballston Spa facility recently named to a federal watchlist of the most troubled nursing homes in the nation is in line for a new owner.

A New Jersey-based limited liability company is requesting state approval to operate the Saratoga Center for Rehab and Skilled Nursing Care. The facility was owned and operated by Saratoga County as Maplewood Manor until early 2015, when the county decided to sell the facility because it was operating at a deficit of millions of dollars a year.

Current owner of the 257-bed facility at 149 Ballston Ave. is listed as Saratoga Center For Care LLC, an entity owned equally by Alan Schwartz and Jeffrey Vegh.

The state Department of Health on Monday posted a request for transfer of ownership to Saratoga Care and Rehabilitation Center LLC, whose sole member is Chaim Scheinbaum. The two entities reached a purchase agreement on Feb. 28, 2017.

Other LLCs are involved in the deal: Saratoga Center for Care LLC will sell the real estate to Saratoga Realty Holdings LLC of New York, the sole member which is Jace Management Group, LLC, whose sole member is Jack Jaffa 2016 Insurance Trust, whose managing member is Jack Jaffa.

The nursing home would be operated under a lease agreement with the new property owner.

State and federal inspectors received numerous complaints and issued numerous citations to Saratoga Center for Rehab and Skilled Nursing Care before the feds named it a Special Focus Facility in April. 

At any given time, just 88 of the 15,000 nursing homes in the United States are on the SFF list maintained by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Roughly 400 other nursing homes are identified as candidates for SFF listing, but there are only 88 slots for the SFF program, which entails more frequent and rigorous inspections. 

Paperwork submitted to the state in April in support of the proposed change of ownership indicates Scheinbaum’s skilled nursing consulting and management company, Alliance Healthcare, operates facilities in three states with 1,602 beds. 

Several of them, the paperwork said, had “significant operational challenges” that Alliance was able to overcome. One of them was a New Jersey facility on the SFF list when Alliance took it over, but soon graduated.

Alliance has served as a consultant to the Ballston Spa facility since March 2018.

The paperwork identified the biggest challenge at Saratoga Center as having enough nursing staff to provide quality care. 

Scheinbaum's paperwork proposes a series of steps to improve the situation, including:

  • Meetings with the nurses’ union;
  • Job fairs
  • Hiring a regional manager for this and another facility in the region under negotiations for purchase; and
  • Switching to service providers with which  Alliance has a working relationship.

Also proposed:

  • A $700,000, two-phase renovation in the first year of ownership;
  • Better reporting and documentation of patient care;
  • Increased outsourcing of pharmacy, dietary and therapy services; and 
  • Decreased outsourcing of medical care.

Taken together, the better management of outsourcing would result in savings of $1.7 million, he said.

The facility had little comment on the matter Tuesday.

“There is a pending ownership application with DOH and we look forward to it being approved,” said Danielle Zastawny, administrator of Saratoga Center for Rehab and Skilled Nursing Care.

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