September 11, 2007
Facility Has Had Management Issues
An Oak Park man who has applied for a state license to operate the former Sangamon Care Center says the previous managers sought him out after they "could not operate this location successfully."
Stephen Miller said the current license-holders - a group of investors operating through a Skokie-based office under the name Platinum Healthcare - haven't been involved in management since Nov. 1.Those investors have contracted with Miller and his associates at Oak Park-based Bridgemark Healthcare to manage the nursing home, now known as Helia Healthcare of Springfield. The home at 2800 W. Lawrence Ave. has 170 beds and serves about 90 residents. There are 110 employees.
Platinum Healthcare also operates Capitol Care Center, 555 W. Carpenter St., which, at 251 beds, is Springfield's largest nursing home. The investor group has been involved with both nursing homes for about four years.
Ben Klein of Chicago, one of the investors, said the group had "a whole bunch of business reasons" to drop management of Helia/ Sangamon Care. For one thing, the investors felt "spread thin" by having to also concentrate on Capitol Care, Klein said.
"We couldn't make a positive impact (at Helia) clinically," he said. "We thought someone else could do a better job."
Miller has said a September 2006 inspection of the nursing home by the Illinois Department of Public Health generated a "catastrophic set of survey findings" that resulted in a federal fine. He said care has improved greatly since his group took over Nov. 1. New personnel include the administrator, nursing assistants, nurses and new housekeeping and dietary managers, he said.
"The staff that we have shown to the door, in many cases, are those individuals who produced the very unfavorable survey findings in September of 2006," Miller said.
More than 80 percent of Helia's patients are poor and have their care paid by the state- and federally funded Medicaid program, Miller said.
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