Valley Meadows closes down for good |

Valley Meadows closes down for good

by Christy Chalmers

Seventeen days after plans to close Valley Meadows Living Center were announced, the last resident has moved out, the locks have been changed and the landlord is claiming a “one in a billion chance” to reopen the troubled facility.

State officials said the last resident was transferred Thursday. Shortly after, Carson-Tahoe Hospital workers retrieved some equipment and furnishings remaining from the hospital’s tenure as owner of the business.

Friday morning, Valley Meadows employees gathered to get their final paychecks. The process was delayed when landlord Dave Pumphrey told the employees they weren’t allowed in the building. Sheriff’s deputies were called, but no altercations resulted. The employee meeting was relocated to a nearby restaurant later in the day.

Pumphrey, a partner in PDQ Limited, which owns the Valley Meadows building, said he learned of the closure “third hand” Thursday night. He said he was never formally told of the plans to close Valley Meadows.

Bonnie Carver, formerly the director of nursing and a member of the facility’s board of directors, said Valley Meadows’ attorney sent PDQ letters advising of the plans. She said most of the employees have found new jobs, and those remaining had planned to complete the business payroll and other paperwork Friday, as well as to retrieve personal property that was left behind by a half-dozen residents.

“This is an absolute surprise,” Carver said of the lockout, as about a dozen employees milled around outside the entrance. Pumphrey stood nearby.

Valley Meadows had been owned and run by an employee group since April. Previously, Carson-Tahoe Hospital owned the business, but lost money and leased it to a private operator, which then defaulted on a $1 million loan.

PDQ’s concerns about the financial solvency of the employee group resulted in plans to bring in a new operator, Cleveland, Ohio-based MultiCare Management. MultiCare officials have since denied any involvement with Valley Meadows. An October inspection found the facility substandard in two areas and outlined problems in several others. In November, state and federal admissions bans were imposed, along with a fine of $500 per day. The employee group announced plans to close Dec. 23, citing financial problems.

Pumphrey said he will keep looking for a new operator.

“There’s a one in a billion chance that this can get resolved and this place can re-open,” he added. “That is if MultiCare comes in and honors their lease.”

For now, Carver said patient records have been transferred to Carson-Tahoe Hospital.

C-TH officials said they hope to recover some of the $800,000 worth of debts and property owed by Valley Meadows. Chief executive officer Steve Smith said the hospital left computers, vans and other equipment at Valley Meadows when the employees took over with the understanding the property would be returned should circumstances change.

In addition, the hospital is still owed money from patients who lived at Valley Meadows while the hospital owned it. Because reimbursement processes can be slow, some payments from those accounts are still coming in.

The hospital board has also approved hiring an attorney in Arizona to pursue collection of the $1 million debt left by the former Valley Meadows operator, which is based in Arizona. A Carson City judge granted a request giving the hospital $1.1 million plus interest, but the company filed bankruptcy the following day.

C-TH has budgeted $25,000 for the Arizona attorney.