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Last updated: Mon. Jul. 29, 2013 - 09:56 am EDT

Local nursing home is acquired

Regency Place part of $50 million deal

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At a glance

Signature HealthCare of Fort Wayne

Formerly: Regency Place of Fort Wayne

Business: The center offers short-term rehabilitation and long-term care to residents.

Address: 6006 Brandy Chase Cove

Ownership: Signature HealthCare LLC

Employees: 119

Licensed beds: 160

Residents: 120

Source: Signature HealthCare LLC

A health care provider that promotes lifelong learning, spirituality and individual empowerment is moving into the local market.

Signature HealthCare LLC is acquiring eight nursing homes from Kindred Healthcare Inc. for about $50 million.

The deal includes Regency Place of Fort Wayne, a 53,440-square-foot nursing home at 6006 Brandy Chase Cove. The price tag for individual facilities wasn’t broken out from the $50 million total.

The local property’s name will change to Signature HealthCare of Fort Wayne on Thursday. The workforce of about 120 will continue working at the facility.

Joe Steier, Signature’s president and CEO, said his Louisville, Ky.-based company tries to create a more home-like environment at its properties.

The company plans to invest about $450,000 to renovate the local nursing home. One of the steps will be to remove formal nursing stations at Signature HealthCare of Fort Wayne, Steier said.

But that doesn’t mean this nursing home is a fixer-upper.

The facility’s existing amenities will continue, spokesman Ben Adkins said. They include:

•X-ray, lab, podiatry, dental and optometry services on site

•Rehabilitation services on site

•WiFi and an Internet café

Suz Blaugh, director of The Chapel’s health and senior ministry, has visited the large church’s members in nursing homes throughout the city.

While she readily admits she’s no authority on the nursing home industry, Blaugh has developed certain expectations over the past 12 years of what’s commonly offered locally and what’s not.

Having medical services on-site, including X-ray equipment, is what she described as a wow factor.

“I would say that is exceptional,” she said. “That’s not your average nursing home.”

Of course, Blaugh added, residents have to be able and willing to pay for the extra expense that’s likely to be added to the monthly bill for those kinds of perks. Families whose loved one is very fragile might be more willing to pay a premium to keep that person from being taken to the hospital for X-rays after every fall, she said.

Signature officials didn’t provide information about rates.

Andy Shane, chief operating officer for Signature HealthCare’s urban division, which will include the Fort Wayne facility, said local families have plenty of options for skilled-nursing care.

“We feel we’ll be among the best of those options, particularly once the planned renovation is complete and we’re able to implement our nursing and clinical programming,” he said in an email.

“Currently, more than half of our centers have a four- or five-star federal ranking from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a number that has grown considerably in recent years as homes we acquire become integrated into our culture and processes,” he said.

Before the acquisition, Signature owned and operated 73 properties in seven states. Kindred owned and operated more than 2,200 locations in 46 states.

Under the federal nursing home rating system, facilities are evaluated on health inspections, quality measures and staffing. A five-star ranking is the highest possible score. A four-star ranking is considered above average.

Signature’s number of four- and five-star buildings has almost tripled to 41 since January 2009, officials said.

The Signature-owned property closest to Fort Wayne is in Muncie. On that location’s website, the facility says staff can care for patients who need extensive wound care and management, intravenous medications and other specialized care.

Signature focuses on providing residents and staff access to lifelong learning, spirituality and individual empowerment, a combination that officials refer to as the three pillars.

“Each of these pillars is a distinct department with its own staff and initiatives, all interlocking to create an environment of freedom and empowerment for our team members, with the ultimate goal of radically transforming the way nursing home care is delivered,” Shane said.

The organization solicits suggestions for improvement from staff, residents and their families. The program is intended to empower stakeholders.

An education program allows staff to increase their training and credentials up to the doctorate level by securing discounts for tuition and fees.

And the organization honors residents’ spirituality several ways, including by organizing events including interfaith gatherings on the National Day of Prayer and accepting prayer requests online.

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