Landlord: Center must stay open

GARDNERVILLE - A landlord for the Valley Meadows Living Center pledged Tuesday to do everything possible to keep the nursing home open, despite a freeze on admissions and apparent management conflicts.

David Pumphrey, a partner in PDQ Limited Partnership, which owns the Valley Meadows building, said he's been at the facility daily as it struggles with state and federal bans on new admissions and tries to remedy the problems identified in a 122-page report that followed an October inspection.

"In the interim, our one and only interest is in keeping the facility open," Pumphrey said. "There are an incredible number of neat people out there, and we have spent time there holding their hands and listening to their wishes and hopes. Nobody wins if the facility closes."

Valley Meadows is the subject of a state admissions ban that went into effect Friday evening. A federal ban on new Medicare patients goes into effect Nov. 19, though the state action precludes any new patients.

The nursing home, located in the Gardnerville Ranchos, was declared substandard in the areas of patient body weights and bowel care. The report also details problems in several other areas.

Pumphrey said Jim Heinzen, the former administrator of the facility, resigned abruptly last week. Heinzen did not return calls left at his home.

A four-person board is running Valley Meadows while a new administrator is sought.

An employee-owned group took over Valley Meadows earlier in the year after the facility went into receivership. Pumphrey's group, PDQ, announced in September that a new group, Cleveland, Ohio-based MultiCare Management, had been recruited to run Valley Meadows because of concerns about the employee group's long-term solvency.

George Repchick, MultiCare's chief operating officer, said in September that the company thought Valley Meadows was viable and anticipated expanding its Nevada holdings with the facility.

But Bill Weisberg, who identified himself as a member of the company's operations division, said Tuesday that Multicare has no lease for Valley Meadows and "right now we don't have a role" with Valley Meadows.

Weisberg declined to answer questions and hung up when asked to elaborate on the company's status with Valley Meadows.

Pumphrey said MultiCare did sign a lease to run Valley Meadows, but said he couldn't be more specific.

State Bureau of Licensure and Certification information officer Luana Ritch said the facility's owner of record is still Valley Meadows, Inc., the employee group.

Valley Meadows faces a January deadline to fix the deficiencies noted in the state report, or it could be closed. Ritch said Valley Meadows has indicated the problems will be corrected by Dec. 10.

In the meantime, the state is monitoring Valley Meadows. The admission ban "will stay in place until we determine that they are providing the minimum acceptable standard of care," said Ritch.

Pumphrey emphasized his group's priority will be the facility's residents, who numbered 75 as of Nov. 12.

"If in some manner Valley Meadows does not stay open, the residents are at risk. The No. 1 goal of everybody should be the residents," he said. "I'm working with everybody on a day-to-day basis to try and resolve the issue."

Valley Meadows has had previous problems. Formerly known as Cottonwood Care Center, the facility was the target of a state ban on admissions in May 1997 after failing an annual inspection. The ban was lifted in October 1997.

Three lawsuits alleging negligence of former residents were filed between 1996 and May 1998, and a local attorney has been looking for other possible plaintiffs.


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