Centers Looks to Continue Skilled Nursing Turnaround Work in Missouri

Centers Health Care’s recent skilled nursing acquisition in Missouri didn’t follow the same pattern as the Bronx, N.Y.-based operator’s growth in the Northeast, but that’s all part of its approach to acquisitions.

Last month, the provider acquired three former Serenity Care Group locations in the Kansas City, Mo. market last month, marking the company’s first move into the Midwest market. Centers now has a total of 47 skilled nursing facilities, in addition to managed long-term care (LTC) insurance, medical transportation, and adult day health care and assisted living programs.

The circumstances behind picking up the Midwestern facilities were unusual for Centers, but they presented a new opportunity for the company, according to COO Amir Abramchik.

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Centers was originally retained by the facilities’ previous owners, Serenity Care Group, to handle certain back-office functions. That gave Centers a deeper understanding of the challenges related to the facilities, Abramchik told Skilled Nursing News. 

“At a point late last summer, the ownership group approached us to offer to transition their facilities fully to us. We had not set out to expand specifically to the Midwest, but having gotten to know the residents and understanding what an important role these facilities play in their respective communities, we agreed to step in and do whatever it would take to save these homes,” he said.

Centers usually acquires struggling nursing homes and turns them around, a process that “often takes years,” according to Abramchik. In general, the company enters a market through acquiring one or more SNFs.

The three Kansas City-area SNFs have low ratings on the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Nursing Home Compare tool as of July 25:  The 145-bed former Serenity Rehabilitation and Nursing Overland Park, now the Overland Park Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, has the highest overall rating at two stars.

Both the 180-bed former Serenity Rehabilitation and Nursing Kansas City, now called Kansas City Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, and the 98-bed former Serenity Rehabilitation and Nursing Butler, now the Butler Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, have a one-star overall rating.

While Centers is eventually targeting full beds at every facility, the company is currently assessing the physical condition of the Kansas City buildings and determining priorities for improvements, adding training and expanded activities, “so there are no immediate plans to add buildings,” Abramchik said.

But Centers’ corporate belief is that people age better at home, Abramchik said, and the move into the Midwest via the SNF acquisitions could end up broadening into a wider effort as a result. Centers entered the managed LTC, adult day health care, assisted living, and home care arena as part of its goal of keeping people out of nursing homes, Abramchik explained.

“The Serenity portfolio gives us a small foothold in that area with its independent living and assisted living facilities and ideally, at some point in time, we would consider adding additional services,” he said. “However, the focus right now is in bringing the existing facilities up to Centers’ standards and providing the finest short term rehabilitation and skilled nursing care in the region.”

Written by Maggie Flynn

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