Two downstate nursing home operators - one of whom owns one of the largest nursing home companies in the state - are buying a pair of skilled nursing facilities on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo from Presbyterian Senior Care of Western New York.
Presbyterian, formerly Presbyterian Homes of Western New York, has agreed to sell its Harbour Health and Hawthorne Health MultiCare Centers for Living at 1175 Delaware Ave. near West Ferry Street and 1205 Delaware near Auburn Avenue, respectively, to Benjamin Landa and Barry Jeremias, who plan to continue operating them. Hawthorne has 122 beds, while Harbor has 95, and the two facilities together have about 200 unionized employees, who are expected to stay on.
Presbyterian acquired the two facilities in receivership in 1980, but they have become a money-losing "drain on the corporation" because of continued low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates from the federal and state governments, said President and CEO Karin A. Ziegler. Presbyterian Senior Care also operates two independent living apartment complexes in Kenmore and Williamsville, and a senior care residence facility in Lockport.
The parties signed an asset-purchase agreement in March, but it can take 12 to 18 months for the state Department of Health to approve a certificate of need and other documents. So, at Ziegler's request, the state placed the two nursing homes into voluntary receivership in July, allowing the buyers to act as "receivers" to operate them now. The duo purchased the two properties for $1.63 million last week.
Landa, a former Pataki administration official, is the co-owner and head of SentosaCare LLC of Woodmere, the biggest for-profit nursing home group in the state. The large and politically connected company operates 17 facilities in four of New York City's five boroughs, as well as in Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties. A few years ago, it was embroiled in controversy concerning its hiring and treatment of workers from the Philippines.
Jeremias, of Monsey, in Rockland County, owns Emerald Care, another downstate health care company.