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Health department takes over management of Crestview Manor in Evansville

The Minnesota Department of Health is assuming management of the Crestview Manor nursing home in Evansville because of the financial troubles of its owner, the Foundation for Rural Health Care in Fosston.

Crestview is licensed for 42 beds.

MDH is assuming management of Crestview and McIntosh Manor in Polk County under a receivership granted January 13, 2009, in Ramsey County Court.

Nursing home receiverships are authorized by state law and are used only in emergency situations, primarily when the finances of a nursing home are insufficient to cover expenses, including payroll.

In this situation, MDH sought to assume management of the homes when it learned that the financial institution holding the mortgages of the homes would not continue to advance money to pay for operating expenses.

"We have taken this step because the two homes are no longer able to meet their financial obligations," said Darcy Miner, director of the compliance monitoring division at MDH. "It is our responsibility to protect the health and safety of nursing home residents, so we needed to take this step to keep the homes open and functioning until a resolution can be found."

Options for the homes include finding new owners for each home or closing one or both of the homes and relocating the residents to other homes.

In the coming weeks, MDH will evaluate the homes to determine if it is practical for them to remain open and continue serving their communities.

The department's goal, said Miner, is to conclude the receivership as quickly as possible, while still protecting the needs of the residents. By law, the receivership cannot exceed 18 months.

"We want to do what is best for the residents and the community, but that includes making sure the homes can be financially viable if they remain open," Miner said. "We will thoroughly evaluate all of the options and make the best decision possible. In the meantime, we want to assure the residents and their families that they will continue to be cared for. If it turns out that we need to relocate residents to other facilities, we will work to make that transition as smooth as possible."

In a receivership, MDH typically appoints a managing agent to conduct the daily work of managing the home. In this case, the department has chosen Eldercare of Minnesota, LLC, based in Little Falls.

Eldercare is experienced in managing five nursing homes and 12 assisted living homes in Minnesota, especially in rural Minnesota, noted health officials.

The company is owned and operated by Jim and Kathy Birchem. Jim is a Minnesota licensed nursing home administrator and Kathy is a registered nurse. They each have more than 30 years experience in health care.

MDH licenses and regulates nursing homes in Minnesota. MDH's duties include inspecting and certifying nursing homes for participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs