CMH sheds its nursing home in Catskill

HUDSON–Columbia Memorial Hospital announced last week it has agreed to sell its Kaaterskill Care Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility in Catskill to Premier Healthcare Management, a privately held company based on Long Island.

The hospital said deal awaits review by regulators, with final transfer expected within 12 months. The price for the 120-bed facility will not be made public, a spokesman for the hospital said.

The release from Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) announcing the sale said that Premier Healthcare Management plans “significant upgrades to Kaaterskill Care.”

News of the sale of the nursing home, which employs around 100 people, comes six months after CMH and Albany Medical Center announced the two hospitals are forging a “strategic affiliation.” Asked whether the sale of the nursing home in Catskill was connected to the affiliation with Albany Medical Center, William Van Slyke, CMH vice president of marketing and external affairs, said this week that the sale was “absolutely independent from our pursuit of an affiliation with Albany Medical Center.”

Bruce Pechman, CEO of Premier Healthcare Management, said his company, based at one of its nursing facilities in Great Neck, “owns, manages or operates” 15 facilities in five states, with three facilities in New York State. He said most are owned by the privately held company and most either a five star or a four star rating. The ratings are based on a five-star ranking and indicate scores state on inspection criteria.

The other states where Premier operated are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania “and soon to be Florida,” Mr. Plechman said. The company was founded in 2006.

Premier also operates some related healthcare business, including assisted living facilities and an ambulance service.

CMH attributes its decision to sell the nursing home, the only one it owns, to “massive changes created by healthcare reform activity in Albany and Washington, D.C. As a result of these changes, nursing home networks have become better able to meet the challenges of making facility improvements and providing quality care.”

“Many single-site nursing homes are at risk of becoming unsustainable in today’s post-healthcare reform environment,” Columbia Memorial President and CEO Jay P. Cahalan said in the release. “Stand-alone facilities are less able to achieve the economies of scale necessary to operate in today’s environment,” he said.

Mr. Pechman voiced much the same observation this week, saying in a phone interview that his companies achieve “economies of scale,” citing one billing department for all the facilities.

Mr. Cahalan said the hospital had “conducted an extensive review” before choosing Premier and that the company shared the hospital’s commitment to the Kaaterskill Care facility’s residents, families and staff.

Mr. Van Slyke said this week that the hospital had reviewed Premier’s records involving retention of staff at other facilities the for-profit company had purchased and found the rate was “well over 90%.”

He said that among the criteria the hospital sought in a buyer were the ability to “maintain and improve levels of care” and a willingness to make capital improvements.

Columbia Memorial will continue to own and operate the Greene Medical Arts building, which is attached to the nursing home facility but not part of that operation. The current physician practices and the diagnostic services at the building will also remain in place.

Columbia Memorial Hospital has a website that provides additional information on the sale at


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