October 7, 2022
Champaign County residents are about to lose ANOTHER nursing home. But we can stop this from happening, if we work together!
The Rothners, who are the current owners of the former Champaign County Nursing Home, which they bought in 2018, now want permission from the Champaign County Board to sell the nursing home and have it become something other than a nursing home.
This would mean that the Champaign County community would lose another approximately 220 skilled nursing facility beds.
We need your help to contact the County Board to oppose this proposed sale of the nursing home. Please read below for more information, and to learn about how to take action.
Background: In 2018, the Champaign County Board made a decision to sell the Champaign County Nursing Home, which had been owned and operated by the county for decades. The County Board sold the nursing home to the Rothner family companies.
CCHCC vigorously opposed the sale of the County Nursing Home because we knew that a sale to a for-profit company would result in diminished quality of care due to changes in staffing levels that would inevitably follow from the change in ownership, and the change in business models from a public non-profit nursing home to a private for-profit nursing home.
Once the Rothners were identified as the proposed buyers of the County Nursing Home, CCHCC again vigorously fought against the sale specifically to the Rothners, after doing extensive research on quality of care problems at Rothner-owned nursing homes. The sale went through anyway.
In order to obtain some protections for county residents, our community advocated for, and won some specific covenants that had to be included as part of the sale. One of the covenants that the Rothners agreed to was a commitment to keep operating the facility as a 220-bed long term care facility for skilled nursing or assisted living until 2028.
See WILL’s report on the sale here.
Now, after only operating the former county nursing home for less than 4 years, the Rothners want out and are not planning to sell the nursing home to another nursing home operator. (The covenants don’t mean anything, unless the County Board enforces them.)
Instead, the Rothners want to sell the former county nursing home to a non-nursing home entity. The Rothners are asking the County Board for permission to sell the former county nursing home to an entity that would operate the facility as a drug and alcohol treatment center.
While many of us support the creation of more resources for substance abuse treatment in our community, that should not happen at the expense of rehab and long term care facilities, especially as we have an increasing aging population, of which many will need care at a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF, also known as a nursing home) at some point in their lives, whether for post-hospitalization rehab services or long term care.
The Rothners are ALREADY responsible for the loss of many nursing home facilities and beds in our community. Once the Rothners had entrée into the Champaign County community, via the purchase of the county nursing home, they proceeded to purchase, and then shut down two other nursing homes in our community: Helia Healthcare on Mattis Avenue in Champaign (a 118 bed facility), and Heartland Healthcare on Springfield Avenue in Champaign (a 102 bed facility). In addition, the Rothners also purchased The Inman in downtown Champaign, which was operated as an assisted living facility, until they recently sold it to Royse & Brinkmeyer, who will no longer operate it as an assisted living facility for seniors.
If the Rothner’s request to sell the former county nursing home is approved, our community will have lost approximately 440 SNF beds as a result of the Rothner’s property “flipping” decisions (not including the assisted living units at The Inman).
The Rothners claim that Champaign County has “excess beds” and that the occupancy rate at the Rothner’s facility is low, and therefore the sale and closure of the nursing home will not hurt our community. Well, despite these “excess beds”, too many Champaign County residents have been sent to SNFs outside of the county because, for one reason or another, they were not able to be admitted to SNFs in our county, including the Rothner’s facility. This is a tremendous hardship on these patients and their family and friends. It is not always clear why Champaign County patients are unable to be admitted to our community nursing homes. In addition, when one looks at the data trends, they show that the worse the ratings are for a particular nursing home, the lower their census becomes. In other words, nursing homes that have problems with quality of care tend to have fewer patients that get sent to them, and therefore have lower occupancy, making it appear as if there are “excess” beds.
The answer is not to make the nursing home go away, but to work to improve the quality of care provided.
Take Action! You can help stop the proposed sale of the nursing home by contacting the County Board. The proposed sale of the former county nursing home is on the agenda for next Tuesday’s (Oct. 11) County Board’s Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting at 6:30 p.m.
You can see the agenda here – the specific item is under XI. Justice and Social Services, item D. “County Executive
1. Proposed amendment to the restrictions and covenants of the Nursing Home sale contract”
You can see the Rothner’s memo to the County Board, starting on page 57 of the packet. You will notice that William Rothner lists out the covenants in the sale agreement, but does not include the one covenant that specified that they would continue to operate the nursing home as a nursing home until 2028.
How to take action: You can take action by contacting your County Board Members (or all of them!) by phone or email, AND the County Executive, and telling them that you want them to oppose the Rothner’s request to sell the nursing home.
Below are links and information for the list of County Board members and their contact information, as well as the County Executive, Darlene Kloeppel:
Champaign County Board Members
County Executive, Darlene Kloeppel: Phone: 217-384-3776 and Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are unsure of who your County Board representatives are, you can look at the County Board District maps here to find your representatives – or you can just contact ALL the County Board members, as well.
Champaign County Board Members and District Maps
Thank you for your advocacy on this important issue! Stay tuned for more updates. Please feel free to share this action alert message with others.
Champaign County Health Care Consumers