At a bankruptcy hearing in Boise on Thursday, things appeared less bleak for the future of two nursing facilities in Bellevue, one of which is in foreclosure proceedings. According to court documents, there are now at least two bidders for Bell Mountain Village and Care Center and Safe Haven Assisted Living Homes—owned by Safe Haven Health Care, which announced in bankruptcy court in January that it was pursuing liquidation of its two Wood River Valley facilities as the company proceeds through Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
In a phone interview with Safe Haven President and CEO Scott Burpee, following the Thursday court hearing, Burpee said his focus was on the patients at the Bellevue facilities.
“My priority is to make sure nobody has to move,” Burpee said.
During the hearing, Safe Haven’s attorney announced it had received two bids the night before and had already received earnest payments from both. He said attorneys for all parties involved planned to get together following the court hearing to go over the bid offers and discuss a plan of action. The judge agreed to continue the hearing on Safe Haven’s amended proposed reorganization plan involving liquidation of the facilities in the hope that the sale would move forward, in which case an amended plan may not be necessary. The plan currently relies on the liquidation of both facilities to settle remaining debts.
A representative of Citizens Bank, one of the creditors who has a lien on one of the Bellevue facilities, said at the court hearing that the bank was “hopeful that this comes together for the debtor.”
The bank began foreclosure proceedings in September on the Bell Mountain Village and Care Center but has continued to work with Burpee and the court as the sale of the facilities remains a possibility. According to Burpee, the bank is in a “holding pattern” until it is determined whether the facilities can be sold at a price that would satisfy it.
In the meantime, the patient-care ombudsman Julia D. Kyte, assigned by the court to ensure the continued care of residents, reported to the court that residents at both facilities say they’re happy with their living conditions and with the level of care provided by employees.
Kyte noted “personal touches and items that confirmed that these residents truly feel and treat the facility as if it is their home.”
Kyte’s report was filed on July 23, after she had visited the facilities on July 18. She reported that residents felt very comfortable living there and that the staff were “pleasant to be around.” In court Thursday, Kyte told the judge that she has “never heard a negative comment from residents” since she was assigned the duty in October.
In her interviews with patients, Kyte also broached the subject of an alternative plan that Burpee had proposed, which included consolidation of both facilities into one, and another of Burpee’s companies, Secure Housing, leasing the remaining property and continuing to run the nursing and assisted care facilities with the same staff and administration.
In asking questions regarding that sort of transition, Kyte reported that “it quickly became clear that even a simple name change on the buildings and moving down the street would be very traumatic, let alone a move to another city and facility far away.”
Kyte stated in her report that Burpee listed alternative places that residents could move to in the event of closure of both Bellevue facilities. They included one in Shoshone, another in Twin Falls and another in Mountain Home.
“[A]ll three facilities would require a significant drive for any family members to visit and in the winter, the likelihood of those visits would be very questionable,” Kyte said in her report.
Details on who the potential buyers are was not revealed during the court hearing, but Burpee said in the phone interview that at least one of the bidders has nursing care facility experience.
The court agreed to continue a confirmation hearing for the sale to sometime in September.