BRADLEY — Kankakee County's lowest-rated nursing home has been taken over by a chain whose homes get poor marks from a federal agency.
The company says it takes over troubled nursing homes and turns them around.
Aperion Care, based in suburban Lincolnwood, took control of GreenTree of Bradley Nursing and Rehab Center, 650 N. Kinzie Ave, on Sept. 1. The chain runs 46 nursing homes in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.
According to the federal government, more than half of Aperion’s nursing homes are rated much below average.
In its news release, Aperion touted its advantages for GreenTree, whose name changed to Aperion Care Bradley.
“Along with that name and new ownership comes the strength of the Aperion brand,” the company said. “The hallmarks of which include a dedication to providing attentive, exceptional care, building strong relationships and enhancing patient quality of life through a consistent team of doctors, nurses, and caregivers in comfortably-sized, contemporary, warm settings.”
Reports from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services tell a different story.
Of the chain’s 46 nursing homes, 24 are rated as much below average. Another 10 are below average. Still two more have no rating because of a history of “serious quality issues” and is included in Medicare’s “special focus” program. Aperion’s closest home is in Wilmington, which is rated below average.
According to the federal agency, five of Aperion’s homes are rated as average, four as above average and one as much above average.
Chicago attorney Alexander Loftus, who represents 30 percent owner Benjamin Friedman, called the sale “a very unfortunate turn of events that was not approved by all of the shareholders.”
“Several more reputable providers, without Aperion’s checkered history, made offers to buy GreenTree for more money,” Loftus said in an email to the Daily Journal. “Sadly for the residents, the excellent offers were turned down by the controlling shareholders. It would appear that there is likely more to the Aperion transaction than meets the eye since it was sold for less than fair market value to a provider with a troubled history.”
Aperion’s lawyer, Fred Frankel, described Loftus’ statement as “unprofessional.”
“We take over troubled facilities. We don’t take facilities that run smoothly. That’s not our model,” Frankel said in an interview.
He said the former GreenTree is now under Medicare’s “special focus” program.
“We were told it was placed on the special focus list. Very few operators would have proceeded knowing that. We did. We have turned around nursing homes,” Frankel said. “Our goal is to stabilize a facility and see it flourish, giving the highest quality of care to residents in all our buildings.”
The shareholder, Friedman, who is listed as the “managing employee,” was locked out by the other owners in early 2018. All the owners but Friedman are members of the family of Marshall Mauer, a fixture in the Chicago-area nursing home business.
Friedman contends the nursing home has gone downhill since the others removed him. He has filed a lawsuit against the others.
Since 2018, GreenTree, formerly River North, has had a number of run-ins with both state and federal regulators, resulting in more than $75,000 in fines from the state Department of Public Health for various care issues.
In February, after the Daily Journal ran a number of stories about the nursing home’s struggles, the facility changed its name to GreenTree. Administrators said the name change had been in the works for more than a year. They never changed their website to reflect the new name