SYCAMORE – A Skokie health care management company has proposed $8.3 million to purchase the struggling DeKalb County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, becoming the second company to make a bid for the county-owned facility.
The latest offer tops an initial offer put forward a month ago by $200,000, documents obtained by the Daily Chronicle through the Freedom of Information Act show. An initial offer of $8.1 million was made by Evanston-based Illuminate HC for the nursing home last month, which faces a more than $7 million budget deficit. The DeKalb County Board has for more than a year grappled with what to do about the future of the nursing home amid financial pressures, management changes and low resident numbers.
County nursing home staff have expressed concern that a sale to a private buyer could mean loss of benefits for existing employees and lowered quality of care for residents. County officials, however, maintain the facility’s current state isn’t sustainable financially, and a sale could be needed to help offset budget constraints.
New offer on the table
According to the proposal, Saba Healthcare LLC, listed at 3531 Howard St. in Skokie, about an hour east of DeKalb north of Chicago, has offered the county $8.3 million to purchase the DeKalb County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
The health care management company would own the facility and then lease with an operating entity, according to the proposal.
The Saba Healthcare letter of intent was sent to DeKalb County Administrator Brian Gregory in an email from Ray Giannini, senior managing director for Marcus and Millichap at 5:25 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, according to records obtained by the Daily Chronicle.
Marcus and Millichap was hired for $10,000 in January by the DeKalb County Board as a consultant to help county officials better understand options which lay before them amid the nursing center’s financial woes.
Marcus and Millichap has marketed the facility since late April, when the board elected to begin the sale process. Earlier this month, Giannini said he was initially approached by eight interested parties. However, after consultation and what he said was the parties learning more about its financial plight, only Illuminate put its offer in writing.
That changed June 15, however.
Upon receiving the email from Giannini, Gregory forwarded the Saba Healthcare letter of intent to the DeKalb County Board at 5:33 p.m. June 15, records show. The DeKalb County Board convened for its scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. that night, and the Saba Healthcare offer wasn’t listed on the agenda.
According to the Illinois Open Meetings Act, items intended for live meeting discussion must be listed on the agenda at least 48 hours prior to a scheduled meeting.
The letter of intent is dated June 15, and like the Illuminate offer, is non-binding. If the DeKalb County Board elected to sign either offer, the company would be expected to pay $20,000 up front as a non-refundable sign of good faith, records show.
Illuminate’s letter would come with a 45-day due diligence period which would include inspections of the facility, environmental and structural assessments among other procedures. A letter of intent signed with Saba Healthcare would mean a 60-day due diligence period, according to the proposal.
The DeKalb County Board is expected to deliberate over the matter at a special meeting in July. The board has traditionally scheduled a summer recess for that time. Continued contentious debate over the future of its nursing home, however, spurred the board to open up July for two expected meetings to discuss both purchase offers.
For the past 24 years up until Dec. 31, the nursing center was run by St. Louis-based Management Performance Associates, a firm that was under county contract. The firm, responsible for overseeing daily operations and creating the facility’s annual budget for County Board approval, declined to renew its contract in December.
An alternate option has also been put forward by county board members Scott Campbell and Bill Cummings. Financial reports presented this month outline how the facility could right-size its budget issues by 2024 if it remained under county control. According to DeKalb County documents, the proposal includes a five-year look at what it would take to keep the facility under county control, including implementing staffing cuts and regular resident census growth.