Lawsuits Force Signature to Give Up Highly Rated Nursing Home

Amid a period of financial difficulty, a number of lawsuits forced Signature HealthCARE to give up management of a well-rated nursing home.

The management of the facility, which was rated four out of five stars by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), was transferred to  Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based Accordius Health on Feb. 1, Louisville Business First reported. The name was changed from Signature HealthCARE at Cherokee Park to Cherokee Park Rehabilitation LLC.

The Louisville, Ky.-based Signature, which provides rehabilitation, assisted living, home health, skilled nursing and cognitive care services in 11 states, is seeking to restructure its financial obligations after falling behind on its rent with landlords Omega Healthcare (NYSE: OHI) and Sabra Health Care REIT (Nasdaq: SBRA).

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Omega reported progress in reaching an agreement with the company in its fourth-quarter earnings call, while Sabra CEO Rick Matros also expressed cautious optimism about hammering out a restructuring deal during the real estate investment trust’s (REIT) most recent earnings call.

Signature CEO Joe Steier has attributed the company’s financial issues to medical malpractice lawsuits, among other issues.

“We hated to lose this as part of the Signature family, but the constant medical malpractice suits we incurred at this location were troubling,” he said in an e-mailed statement to Louisville Business First. “[D]espite solid quality validated by great surveys from CMS and the state as a four-star center for quality and a five-star center for various years… the lawsuits never stopped …”

In addition to four stars from CMS as of Feb. 16, the facility had a five-star rating for its registered nursing staff. Both of those numbers surpassed the 3.4 national average for both overall and registered nursing staff ratings.

Steier did not indicate how many lawsuits were filed against Cherokee Park or against Signature as a result of care at the facility.

Written by Maggie Flynn

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