MALVERN - Faith Ridge Life Center, a 51-bed skilled nursing facility in Malvern, and 21-bed Kevington Lane in Sidney will close later this year as a result of the owner’s ongoing financial woes and legal struggles with the state of Iowa.
Mary Morse-Bolton and her two facilities owe the state over $400,000 in Medicaid overpayments and health care taxes, according to lawyers and representatives of the Iowa Department of Human Services. On Friday, a district court judge in Des Moines honored the state’s request to begin the process of closing the facilities.
Faith Ridge and Kevington Lane are now under the management of Klaasmeyer and Associates, an Omaha-based firm which provides assistance to assisted living and skilled care facilities. During legal proceedings in February, Klaasmeyer and Associates was named the receiver for the two care centers in an effort to help collect the funds owed to the state.
Shortly after taking over as receiver, Klaasmeyer and Associates determined the two facilities were on the verge of financial collapse, with no funds available to pay for minimum obligations such as therapeutic and dietary services at Faith Ridge or heating and cooking fuel at Kevington.
Morse-Bolton is no longer involved in the management of the facilities.
Ken Klaasmeyer said as a result of the state ruling, his firm is responsible for coordinating the closure of the two facilities and the placement of residents over the next 60-90 days.
“The court order is to develop a plan for the transfer of residents to other facilities,” Klaasmeyer said.
Klaasmeyer noted the plan for closure must be approved by the state. During the closure process, residents at Faith Ridge and Kevington will receive the care and services they require and both facilities will have adequate staffing, he said.
“The state provides funds for us to operate,” Klaasmeyer said.
Klaasmeyer said 39 of the beds at Faith Ridge are currently occupied and resident families will be kept abreast of the closure process.
Banker and civic leader Jay Burdic said Faith Ridge’s closure will have an emotional and financial impact on Malvern, a close-knit community that’s experienced positive changes and growth in recent years.
“It’s been a long time since Malvern has faced something like this,” Burdic said. “Any time you lose a business in a small town, it’s going to have a trickle-down effect on Main Street.”
Faith Ridge is the second largest employer in Malvern, behind the East Mills School District. Burdic said businesses ranging from the Main Street pharmacy and grocery store to the flower shop and restaurants will be hurt by the care center’s closure. Even the local rescue unit expects to lose revenue with the loss of transports to and from Faith Ridge.
“There’s also the perceptual damage of having a large building shuttered up,” Burdic said.
Burdic said he expects the Malvern community to make every effort to find another occupant for the building.
“I expect to see the community leaders try to get someone else to come in and operate it as a nursing home, assisted living or something in between,” Burdic said.