After nearly two years of uncertainty, Weinberg Campus agreed Wednesday to sell the majority of its main nursing home and senior care complex in Amherst to Post Acute Partners, the operators of Elderwood.
The two companies earlier in the day signed a formal sale agreement. Post Acute will take over and continue to operate the Weinberg facilities at 2700 North Forest Road as part of its Elderwood network. The price was not disclosed.
"We are very pleased to become part of Elderwood, Western New York’s preeminent long term care organization," Robert T. Mayer, Weinberg's president and CEO, wrote in a letter to residents and employees. "Elderwood is a quality operator of skilled nursing, assisted living, rehabilitation, senior living communities and other post-acute care services, with a strong track record of success."
The sale includes the Forest Creek and Meadows senior citizen apartments, the Rosa Coplon Living Center skilled nursing home, the Dosberg Manor and Garden House assisted-living facilities, Menorah Licensed Home Health Care Agency, Rosa Coplon Certified Home Health Agency and Rosa Coplon Outpatient Therapy.
The 123-unit Turtle Creek independent-living complex north of the main campus was excluded from the sale, as were 150 units of federally subsidized apartments called Amherst Towne, Amherst Glen and Amherst ridge, plus 120 units of affordable housing called Stovroff Towers. Additionally, the sale did not cover the Fallon Health Weinberg joint venture, the Menorah Campus Health Services diagnostic and treatment center, or the Greenwood Residences in West Seneca.
The deal requires government approvals that could take up to a year before it can be completed. In the interim, officials said there will be no changes for patients and residents.
"While we’re preparing for our bright, new future, our residents and families can expect the quality services and support they are accustomed to," Mayer said. "It’s important that we stay focused on the important work we do every day to provide outstanding care."
Officials noted in a Weinberg Q&A document prepared for residents, employees and the community that it's too early to speculate about whether the sale would result in any job cuts or other changes at Weinberg. But "it is highly likely that the vast majority of staff would remain to care for residents," the document said, noting that "our employees are our most important asset."
"We hope to keep any and all employees that are currently providing services there," said Anna M. Foy, director of business development for Elderwood Administrative Services, based in Buffalo. "We try not to disrupt all the good things that a building such as Weinberg has now."
The sale ends the decades-long history of independence for the businesses that have operated under the Weinberg and previously Rosa Coplon banners. But it also provides more certainty for the future at a time when senior-care companies are struggling under the weight of higher medical costs and declining government reimbursements.
The agreement also concluded a process that began when growing financial pressures forced the Weinberg leadership to put the business up for sale because it could no longer afford the investments needed to remain independent.
"After reviewing our current resources, the market and what it will look like in the future, the board of directors decided that it was important to explore what other operators could do for Weinberg’s staff, residents and clients in the future," Mayer explained in the letter. "This is a strategically sound move for Weinberg, its residents, its employees and the people we serve."
Founded in 2010 to buy and operate skilled nursing, long-term care, assisted living and rehabilitation facilities, Post Acute Partners operates in four states, with more than 4,600 employees. Its business includes five pediatric specialty hospitals in Pennsylvania, two nursing homes in Rhode Island, a home care agency and an institutional pharmacy in Massachusetts, and the Elderwood network in Western and Central New York.
The New York City-based company, led by Dr. Jeffrey Rubin and Warren Cole, acquired ElderWood Senior Care of Williamsville, the region's largest nursing home company, in August 2013 for $141 million, and has since added on several more facilities to the network.
But Weinberg was a rare opportunity. "It's unusual to be able to acquire a continuum of care on a campus," Cole said.
Elderwood operates 10 nursing homes, seven assisted-living communities and two independent-living complexes, providing nursing care, specialized subacute care, rehab services, and memory care services to more than 5,000 people annually.
It's that extensive network that provides the economies of scale necessary to operate, which a smaller independent nonprofit like Weinberg can't do on its own, Cole said. "Elderwood is a very large company," he said. "We have a very robust management company that supports those facilities, and we're confident that we'll be able to run those facilities well."
Among other benefits, officials cited "positive impacts" in facility upgrades, additional technology and more services. But Foy said there are no specific plans as of yet.
In the letter, Mayer noted that officials spent the past two years "carefully evaluating numerous parties interested in Weinberg Campus," before narrowing their choice to Post Acute. He said Elderwood "meets all of the criteria" set by the Weinberg board when the sale process began, and "will bring substantial resources and capabilities to ensure that the mission of Weinberg Campus continues."
"We are confident that we have found the right buyer," Mayer said.
The names of the properties will likely change somewhat to incorporate the Elderwood name at the beginning, while still keeping the institutions' history and legacy. The campus dates to 1915 with the founding of The Daughters of Israel Jewish Old Folks Home in Buffalo, which moved to a Symphony Circle mansion in 1924 and became the Rosa Coplon Jewish Home and Infirmary. It expanded into a 166-bed nursing home in 1975, and moved to its current 70-acre campus in 1993.
"The Elderwood name will be on there, but there are other properties that we have respected the tradition," Foy said. "We would not want to disrupt that. Weinberg has been an important part of the Jewish community in Western New York, and we would like to continue that relationship and partner with the community."