2015-08-19 / Front Page

PEACHTREE CENTRE SALE

Potential new owner addresses council
By LARRY HILLIARD
Ledger Staff Writer


AnSHEL nIEDERMAn ... It’s (Peachtree Centre) something that should stay in the community AnSHEL nIEDERMAn ... It’s (Peachtree Centre) something that should stay in the community Beginning his remarks by saying he’s no great orator, the unassuming man articulately zeroed in on the changes he would make if Cherokee County Council approves his bid to buy the Peachtree Centre.

Speaking before Monday’s Cherokee County Council meeting and a largely-skeptical audience of Peachtree Centre employees, MFI Healhtcare coowner Anshel Niederman pledged to retain all the current employees, increase revenue by raising the occupancy rate and keep the decision-making at a local level.

Niederman traced the history of the facility from a county-owned hospital beginning in the 1950s to the conversion to a nursing home in the 1990s.

“It’s something that should stay in the community,” Niederman said.

During a tour of the facility, Niederman said he was impressed with the family nature and high quality of care.

However, improvements need to be made to make the facility more financially stable.

He said he would boost nurses’ salaries to retain and increase the number of nurses rather than hiring them through an agency.

He also wants to increase the facility’s revenue by attracting more residents. To accomplish that goal, he would hire a clinical liaison to raise the number of physician referrals to the facility, he said.

Currently, the facility has an occupancy rate of 82 percent. He feels he can boost that rate to 92 percent “in a short amount of time.”

In comparison, another Gaffney-area nursing home has a an occupancy rate of 98 percent, Niederman said.

“We will run after each referral whether it’s Medicaid or Medicare,” he said.

He also told council he plans to improve the nursing home’s therapy services.

As evidence of his desire to follow through with his plans, Niederman told council of the changes his company made at its most recent nursing home acquisition in St. Louis.

“We came in and had a mess on our hands,” Neiderman said.

The company was able to quickly improve the quality of care at the facility by focusing on employee morale.

“If the employees are happy, the residents will be properly taken care of,” Niederman said.

Niederman is negotiating a purchase of the Peachtree Centre for $9 million. He said there are no conditions “attached to the purchase price.”

The idea of selling the Peachtree Centre appears to have strong support from at least three council members because of the impact that deficits at the nursing home could have on county finances.

However, the possible sale of the nursing home to a private operator has come under fire from Peacthree Centre employees, local residents and three council members.

Councilman Rufus Foster was the most vocal in his opposition on Monday — so much so that council chairman Tim Spencer told Foster to lower his voice when questioning Niederman.

Niederman, though, calmly addressed Foster’s concerns, saying that he’s sincere in his pledge to keep all the employees.

Niederman said the Peachtree Centre was rated as 3-star facility based on a rating system from 1 to 5 but has dropped even lower. The nursing home was fined by a state agency after an inspection uncovered numerous violations.

Responding to a question from Spencer, Niederman said county residents would get preference over out-ofcounty residents for available beds.

“We feel like we would do a very good job taking over the facility,” Niederman said. “I hope the county and Gaffney accept the facility. I hope (council) would accept our proposal.”

Council instructed Niederman to keep in touch with the county attorney. Cherokee County Acting Administrator Holland Belue said it’s council’s discretion when to have a vote on the potential sale.

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