Elderwood brand adds North Creek nursing home

Brand may expand to Ticonderoga, Vermont

NORTH CREEK — In late January, the Tri-County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was purchased by Post Acute Partners for nearly $3 million.

The price covers the purchase of the 82-bed facility in North Creek — which serves Hamilton, Warren and Essex counties — and its operating interests. With the purchase complete, the facility has been rolled into the Elderwood brand of Post Acute Partners LLC, co-founded and operated by Dr. Jeffrey Rubin and Warren Cole.

It is no secret that the North Creek facility had come upon difficult financial times for the past few years. The reimbursement environment, staffing challenges and declining patient census colluded to make healthy organizational operations difficult.

“We quit admitting due to trouble staffing,” said Hal Payne, Tri-County’s administrator. “We are advertising on Indeed.com, and we could hire 15 people today if we found the right applicants.”

Despite difficult reimbursement and staffing challenges, in recent years the facility has scored a four-star rating out of five in the categories of “Quality” and “RN Staffing,” according to NursingHomeRating.org.

When asked about parameters used to identify acquisition candidates, Marc Walker, Elderwood’s regional administrator, emphasizes, “We look for quality.” He stressed that this is what drives the search as Elderwood focuses on its desire to expand its footprint in the North Country.

The North Creek acquisition adds to the recent acquisition of Elderwood of Uihlein in Lake Placid. In addition, Walker indicated that the Heritage Commons Residential care facility at Ticonderoga will very shortly be acquired by Post Acute Partners and rolled under the Elderwood brand. Walker also pointed to an acquisition slated to occur by June in the Burlington, Vermont, area.

“Our business is to penetrate communities and fit our offering to the needs of the community,” Walker said. “It stresses high-quality market penetration and good leadership.”

Size and experience also seem to play major roles in meeting the most important objective of serving the needs of residents, no matter their payment source. According to Walker, Elderwood’s focus in the North Creek facility will be to maintain and improve the quality of service and expand the services offered. The recruitment of additional quality staff and the aggressive educational programming for all staff will be an initial focus toward achieving these goals. The financial picture will become positive due to the impact of savings garnered from increased purchasing power, as much as 20 to 30 percent, according to Walker. In addition, Walker emphasizes that the application of documentation procedures built on the firm’s broad and deep experience will prove to optimize reimbursement rates over time.

Walker offered the caveat that this will not happen overnight: “It does take time; we realize that we will incur loses in the short term.”