About The Study
- Advisory Services
- Transactional Services
Bergen County Health Care Center (“BCHCC” or the “Nursing Home”) was a 110-bed residential long-term care nursing home facility owned by the County of Bergen in New Jersey (the “County”), offering accommodations for those individuals requiring a higher-level of quality care. Services included skilled nursing for dealing with patients suffering from Dementia, Alzheimer’s, developmental disabilities, and other health conditions. The facility included state-of-the-art rehabilitation equipment and qualified medical staff, dietitians, social workers, and activities specialists that provided hands-on care to create an “at-home” individualized experience for each resident. Despite providing several decades of five-star quality care to the residents of Bergen County and the surrounding areas, financial losses began to mount due to declining reimbursement from Medicaid, changing trends in long-term care, and an aging and deteriorating facility. These trends were then exacerbated by the 2020 pandemic, which further reduced occupancy. Ultimately, the County decided that it was in the best interest of the residents to voluntarily close the facility.
In April 2021, ToneyKorf Partners, LLC (“ToneyKorf”) was retained by the County to manage and oversee the safe and orderly closure of the Nursing Home and the relocation of its residents, ensuring that each was done in accordance and coordination with state, federal, and local regulations. The work required planning that produced the least impact on the lives of the residents and their families. The Closure of any healthcare facility, particularly those providing long-term care, is a sensitive issue. Consideration must be given to factors such as the nature of the care required by the residents, the service and jobs provided to the community, the impact of a relocation on the residents and their families, and the uncertainty associated with the access to equal levels of care at alternative facilities. In addition, significant regulatory requirements and protections exist for the benefit of the residents in the form of federal, state, and local healthcare agencies. In some states, including NJ, an Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman exists specifically to oversee such closures.
Summary of Key Closure Plan Formation, Execution, and Results
- Identified federal and state regulatory requirements for the closure of residential long-term care facilities.
- Incorporated a Best Practices approach in planning the closure of residential long-term care facilities.
- Developed and internally vetted the Closure Plan during a two-month period, which included:
- Engaged County and Administrative Nursing Home staff in the Closure Plan, process, and timeline;
- Coordinated with Federal, State, and Local authorities and stakeholders; and
- Addressed employee concerns and interests through plans developed with the various Unions.
- Drafted a comprehensive plan for conducting the voluntary closure of the facility, including maintaining patient care and safety during the closure and resident transfers; communications to employees, residents, the community, and vendors; alternative facility identification; transfers of medical and administrative records, transfer of reimbursement, and other financial payor information.
- Coordinated the formation of personnel teams for the various work streams associated with the closure, including the organization of regular meetings between the teams, their respective leaders, and the overall Senior Leadership team.
- Drafted workstream checklists for all tasks to be completed by each team as it related to the closure of the facility and the relocation of all individual nursing home residents.
- Managed the third-party public relations communications firm responsible for press releases and communications with print and other media.
- Organized and oversaw the Resident-Family meetings upon the announcement of the closure.
- Managed and developed responses to various stakeholder groups from within the facility (Labor) and without the facility (Regulatory agencies at all levels).
- Oversaw the resident relocation process as outlined in the Closure Plan.
- Preserved the employment of 100+ employees, including full-time, part-time, and per-diem employees, by securing new positions at the County Health Department and other local healthcare providers.
- Prepared retention plans for employees based on each respective employee’s anticipated need throughout the wind down process as well as contingency plans to deal with any anticipated labor turnover or shortages.
- Coordinated the orderly wind down of supply chain operations/logistics with all major vendors.
- Completed the transfer of residents to alternative facilities within two months of announcing the closure. The expected timeframe was between four to six months but was expedited due to the thoroughness of the planning, the engagement of the County, the organization’s staff, and regulatory authorities.
- Coordinated with the New Jersey Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman.