MT. MORRIS — The planned sale of Pinecrest Community to Allure Healthcare Services is set to close on Nov. 30.
Pinecrest is a nonprofit 501(c)3 continuing care retirement campus in Mt. Morris that serves approximately 170 residents. It was formed in 1893 as “Brethren Home” by the Church of the Brethren to care for seniors and orphans; the church no longer owns Pinecrest, but is affiliated with it.
“The impact of COVID has been tremendous on our operations as far as increased costs, shortage of staff and lost revenue,” said Ferol Labash, CEO of Pinecrest. “Those three things combined are what led to this sale.”
Labash noted that, until final closing, nothing is 100% certain.
Allure, which is headquartered in Chicago, owns nine other nursing facilities, including ones in Sterling, Mount Carroll and Prophetstown. Its centers provide short-term stays for respite or rehabilitation, hospice care, dementia and memory care, 24-hour nursing care, various therapies and more, according to AllureHCS.com.
Pinecrest residents and staff have been informed of the sale, and letters have been sent to families, said Labash, who will remain as the facility’s administrator following the sale.
“We hope to have a very seamless transition,” she said. “They [Allure] are committed to quality care, as Pinecrest has been throughout our history. We expect that commitment to quality to continue.”
Allure of Pinecrest — which is what the campus will be called — will be able to accept Medicaid and serve people with “limited resources, probably to a greater extent than we were able to,” Labash said.
Nursing facilities are a highly regulated industry, and operating as a stand-alone site has become increasingly difficult, she explained. Organizations with multiple sites have “economies of scale” and are able to employ experts in every area of operations in a way that’s just not possible for facilities like Pinecrest, Labash said.
As an example, she pointed to Allure’s float pool of nurses and certified nursing assistants who can be called on to fill openings in staff schedules at different Allure facilities. There are outside agencies that can provide floating staff, but the cost of utilizing the agency’s employees lands on the nursing facility or hospital, Labash said.
Pinecrest employs more than 150 people, she said. Allure intends to retain those staff, Labash noted.
“I do want the public to know that our Board of Directors and I spent a great deal of time considering who this sale was going to be made to,” she said.
Research included reviews of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services documents, talks with friends and family who have loved ones in other Allure facilities and in-person inspections of Allure facilities, Labash said. Some board members also spoke to Allure employees who were leaving work.
Allure owns nursing facilities in Prophetstown, Sterling, Geneseo, Lake Storey, Mount Carroll, Moline, Galesburg, Stockton and Zion.
When asked what Allure is paying for Pinecrest, Labash declined to comment.
Pinecrest obtained nonprofit 501(c)3 status in 1945. That status will “be in a period of winding down” following the sale, as Allure is not a 501(c)3, Labash said.
“Our priority first and foremost is to maintain the quality of care that we’re known for for our residents, and that we take care of our staff and we meet our commitments to everyone,” she said. “That was always our focus.”
Allure officials have expressed excitement at the prospect of being part of the Mt. Morris community, Labash said. It’s important to them that they interact with the community and support community events, she said.
“We want to be good for the Mt. Morris community, too,” Labash said. “We didn’t want to have an empty building or a place that’s not going to provide quality care.
“They [Allure] want to maintain happy residents,” she added. “When you have happy staff, you have happy residents.”
The following information was obtained from PinecrestCommunity.org.
Pinecrest Grove is a 20-acre development for active adults ages 62 and above.
“They [Allure] are very excited about the community center building and look to increase its use among the general public,” Labash said. “They love that building and think it could be a great attraction.”
Pinecrest Village offers independent living in spacious, maintenance-free apartments and cottages.
Pinecrest Manor provides intermediate care, skilled care and short-term physical, occupational and speech therapy. Pinecrest Terrace serves those with Alzheimer’s and memory care needs.