SAN MATEO, Calif. – San Mateo County Board of Supervisors (BOS) unanimously approved today an agreement to allow Burlingame Long Term Care (BLTC) to be managed by a private company for three years. The agreement is for Brius, LLC, a company that operates a large number of nursing facilities in California, to take over management of BLTC, effective July 15, 2012.
“This is a very positive turn of events for the County, for staff, and for our residents,” said Jean Fraser, Chief of San Mateo County Health System. “It allows over 230 nursing beds to stay open in our County, and over 150 employees being laid off from the County to obtain positions with the new management company. In addition, residents will be able to remain at BLTC, which many consider to be their home.”
Brius will be purchasing the building from the current owner and has committed to invest a minimum of $3.5 million in upgrades. Brius will need to operate with a low number of residents while upgrades are made.
“We are projecting heavy financial loss for the first few years,” said Brius owner Shlomo Rechnitz. “My goal is to keep the facility open with employees and residents in place, and to ensure the safety of every patient we care for.”
All current residents will be allowed to stay at BLTC. Those residents who have already been transferred to other skilled nursing homes will be given priority to return as beds become available after renovations to the building are made. To address earthquake and fire safety concerns, those residents who cannot walk will be housed on the first floor.
Most County staff who were scheduled to be laid off will be offered the opportunity to continue working at BLTC as Brius employees, starting on the day Brius assumes
management of the facility, which is targeted for July 15, 2012.
“This is a huge win for union members and residents in San Mateo County,” said Nadia Bledsoe, an agent for AFSCME union. “Brius has been flexible and very responsive to our employees’ needs, and Mr. Rechnitz’s efforts to retain staff have certainly paid off.”
The Health System’s recommendation earlier this year to not renew the BLTC lease was based on a 23% reduction in the rate paid by the State for care at BLTC, as well as concerns about the age and safety of the building.
As a private operator, Brius has lower costs than the County for running nursing facilities, and can therefore manage on a lower reimbursement rate. Brius will purchase and upgrade the facility.
Brius will initially manage the facility under San Mateo Medical Center’s direction and on the hospital’s license, transitioning in three years to operating the facility as an independent nursing home. The Health System will continue moving forward with the Long Term Care Integration Pilot Program, with a goal that by the time Brius transitions to running BLTC independently, there will be more alternatives to nursing homes for low-income elderly and disabled county residents.
Health System Press Contact: Robyn Thaw (650) 867-1661
Brius Press Contact: Alain Kuppermann, (323) 924-8850.