DeKalb County Board gives final approval for sale of DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center

DeKalb County States Attorney David Berault, right, leans in as DeKalb County Administrator Brian Gregory talks about the final steps in the process of selling the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center to Illuminate HC during the April 20, 2023 DeKalb County Board.

SYCAMORE – DeKalb County Board unanimously approved the final step in the sale of the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center on Wednesday, a week after learning the two companies to bid on the facility joined forces.

In July 2022, the DeKalb County Board approved an asset purchase agreement and an operational transfer agreement with a limited liability company – DeKalb Healthcare LLC – that had been created by Illuminate HC principal Avi Zuckerman. Earlier this month, while applying for state certification for the sale, DeKalb County officials said they learned company leadership of Skokie-based Saba Healthcare – the only other company to also place a sale bid for the nursing center – had combined to help run the facility once the Illuminate sale purchase is finalized.

The Board voted Wednesday to approve DeKalb County Administrator Brian Gregory to submit final documentation needed, a Certificate of Need, to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, a process that also is expected to secure a final closing date for the sale, if approved by the state.

Multiple phone calls and emails to Saba Healthcare and Illuminate HC were not returned.

“So during that process we were made aware that in the LLC Mr. Zuckerman brought in two individuals, partners of another company called Saba, which we’re familiar with because Saba was the other bidder that bid on our facility,” Gregory said. “So those two individuals, Moshe Blonder and Aharon Singer are essentially joining up with Avi Zuckerman as a part of the LLC to acquire and operate the [DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center].”

In July 2022, the DeKalb County Board voted to sell the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center after years of alleged mismanagement, delinquent billing and falling resident numbers created $7 million worth of county debt.

The DeKalb County Board chose to initiate a sale of the nursing center to Illuminate HC for $8,300,100 million instead of the Skokie-based Saba Healthcare, which had put in a $8.3 million offer.

During a months-long debate about who to sell the facility to in the summer 2022, County Board members compared operational star ratings for both healthcare companies reported through the U.S. Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

While the certificate is expected to be filed as soon as possible by the state with the Board’s approval, Gregory said that doesn’t mean the sale is imminent.

Gregory has said it’s likely the Illinois Health Facilities Services Review Board – which next meets on May 9 – won’t be able to consider the Certificate of Need application for the facility until June 27. If that’s the case, the closing won’t happen until Aug. 1 because these transactions typically close on the first of the month, Gregory said.

The county also has a plan to ensure that costs still funneled to the beleaguered facility don’t overburden the county budget should the sale not be finalized by the summer.

Gregory said county officials sought to find a way the facility would no longer be a part of the county’s budget by Aug. 1, and how to guarantee the sale would be complete by that date.

“If [Illuminate HC] did not deliver, if we’re not able to close on or before Aug. 1 they would cover county losses at the facility up to $200,000 a month,” Gregory said. “So there’s incentive for them to keep the ball moving forward.”

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