Brookcrest owner seeks nursing home

October 8, 2008
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The scramble for new nursing home beds in Ottawa County has intensified again, as a local Christian Reformed nonprofit organization filed an application to build a 24-bed skilled nursing facility.

An Oct. 1 deadline loomed for companies interested in bed allocations from the state.

Sunset Manor Inc., owner of Brookcrest in Grandville, is seeking to capture beds that would remain available should North Ottawa Community Health’s application for a new 150-bed nursing home gain a green light from the state.

A local panel recently gave its blessing to the NOCH request, which is expected to go before the state Certificate of Need Commission this month.

Earlier this year, the state Department of Community Health allocated 175 additional nursing home beds for Ottawa County. That set off a round of interest from nursing home operators.

“There haven’t been beds available in Ottawa County for decades,” Brookcrest Administrator Steve Zuiderveen said.

He said the $5.6 million skilled nursing facility would be built as part of Phase 2 of the 333-unit Waterford Place project now under construction on 50 acres in Georgetown Township. The $26 million first phase is an 84-unit independent living building expected to be complete by fall 2009.

Sunset Manor had anticipated building assisted living next, followed by skilled nursing in 2013 or beyond, Sunset Association Executive Director Chad Tuttle told the Business Journal earlier this year.

But the unexpected availability of new nursing home beds in Ottawa County prompted a change in plans, Zuiderveen said.

“All of a sudden, we saw this as an opportunity for us to put skilled nursing beds on that campus that will allow us to focus on developing a state-of-the-art therapy department for short-term rehab people,” he said.

The nursing home would be available to the public, as well as to Waterford Place residents whose health needs change, he added. If the Certificate of Need process moves smoothly, nursing home construction could begin by the end of 2009.

Zuiderveen said the nursing home would be about 80 percent private rooms with private baths. He said it would be built to accommodate 16 additional beds, in anticipation of the possibility of the state allocating even more beds to Ottawa County following the 2010 census.

He said Brookcrest sees 700 new admissions annually, the majority for short-term rehabilitation following hospitalization. Brookcrest and Waterford are less than three miles apart, but across the county line.

In 2006, the latest year for which tax documents were available, Sunset Manor reported total revenue of $21.6 million, net revenue of $920,095, and net assets of $10.78 million.

“This is kind of an important step for us, if we can make it work,” Zuiderveen added.

The state is unlikely to allocate more nursing home beds for Kent County because it already has more than its current allotment, he said. Construction of a nursing home at Waterford Place would relieve some usage pressure at Brookcrest, he explained.

Sunset Association operates Sunset Manor and Sunset Village in Jenison, which house 400 people in 384 independent living and assisted living apartments.

It also runs Brookcrest, a 145-bed nursing home and rehabilitation facility in Grandville; a home health agency, which served more than 400 people in 2007; and the Meals at Home program, which provides food to 150 senior citizens daily.

Rest Haven Christian Services, a Tinley Park, Ill., Christian Reformed nonprofit that operates the Haven Park skilled nursing facility, has filed a letter of intent to build a $10.8 million nursing home in Hudsonville. The building would accommodate 50 beds, but the proposal is for 25 beds.

Earlier this year, a Southfield for-profit nursing home operator expressed interest in Ottawa County, but has not yet submitted an application to local health planning agency Alliance for Health.

The deadline for submitting competitive bids for the nursing home beds is Oct. 1, according to Lody Zwarensteyn, Alliance for Health president. Applications meeting that deadline would be weighed against each other under Certificate of Need regulations, he explained.

“If everything else is identical in the application, approves goes to whoever had the application into the department (Michigan Department of Community Health) the soonest,” Zwarensteyn said.

The 150-bed NOCH application for a $16.8 million nursing home south of Grand Haven already has received Alliance for Health approval and been moved to the state level, where it awaits action in October.

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