New owner steps in: Change reveals woes with Welcov, RW Healthcare
The Red Wing Healthcare Community was, until Feb. 1, owned by Welcov. Then came financial collapse.
Welcov had scaled down to about 20 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in six states. One of the final acts before the company declared bankruptcy was to inform staff at the local center that they would not be paid for the previous two weeks.
According to a union leader, the owed salaries for those in Red Wing totaled about $200,000.
Enter the new owner, Samuel Weinberg. He voluntarily paid most of the owed salaries, but workers say there are many problems to be resolved at the Red Wing Healthcare Center, now called Bay View Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Doing more than their job description
Jaime Janvrin had worked at the facility at 1412 W. Fourth St. since February 2017 as a third-floor unit manager, overseeing the 15 residents and staff on the floor. In all, the center is licensed to serve 77 people.
April Beighley, an aide with responsibilities ranging from passing meds to working in restorative physical therapy, had worked for the company since July 2018.
Both women said they complained numerous times of the constant short-staffing. While she was scheduled to work a standard, full-time work week, Beighley would pick up hours between her scheduled shifts and on her weekends off.
"They were always short-staffed so they were offering pick-up bonuses, they had sign-on bonuses, because they just couldn't keep help," Beighley said. "The turnover rate there was ridiculous."
In July there was a moment when Janvrin said she turned in her resignation due to the lack of staff and procedures to deal with problems at the facility.
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Janvrin said she was asked to stay on by the director of nursing to help with the state's Special Focus Facility inspection. Janvrin agreed, postponing her departure until September. When the inspection was complete, the director of nursing asked Janvrin to postpone her resignation again and to train her replacement. Janvrin again agreed.
However, the second-floor unit manager then resigned and Janvrin's replacement was instead assigned to that floor. Janvrin again agreed to remain at the center and care for those on the third floor. She remained until she, and the second floor unit manager she had trained, were let go Feb. 5.
"They keep asking me to stay," Janvrin said. "Then I stay. And then they fire me."
Welcov to Weinberg
Welcov Healthcare filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 18.
The Republican Eagle's repeated attempts to contact corporate officials for a statement about the future of the facility failed. Messages were not returned.
Beighley and Janvrin estimate Welcov owes them each $3,000. Beighley said she had worked 120 hours during her last pay period. Janvrin estimated that she had 120 hours of paid time off that won't be recouped.
Weinberg paid employees still working at the facility, something he legally did not need to do, union officials said.
The two floor managers and the aide who were not longer on the payroll were not paid.
Beighley quit on Feb. 2. Beighley told the Republican Eagle that she had picked up a shift to run the med cart. However, when she arrived at the job she was assigned to the traumatic brain injury unit. She stated, "I was on the unit, which is 20-some residents ... by myself, and there's high behaviors up there. We've had to call the police department a lot. ... And I'm like, I'm not doing this. If something was to happen, that would be my certification."
Beighley said she was reprimanded and she quit the next day.
Inside the facility
Conditions at the Red Wing Healthcare Center were questionable at best, according to Beighley and Janvrin and verified by state inspection reports. According to the Department of Human Services Nursing Home Report Card, the Red Wing Health Center ranks as one of the most poorly rated facilities in the state.
The report card issued Jan. 30 says the Red Wing Health Center received one star ratings for Minnesota Clinical Quality Indicators, Resident Quality of Life, Family Satisfaction Survey, and Hours of Direct Care. The average score for Minnesota facilities for those categories is three out of five stars.
Areas such as prevalence of new or worsened pressure sores put the facility at 305 out of 345 facilities surveyed on the report card. Moreover, the prevalence of physical restraints ranked the facility at 342 out of 352 facilities surveyed Oct. 1, 2017-Sept. 30. 2018.
Beighley and Janvrin said circumstances put staff in a difficult position to do their jobs.
"We were always running out of the equipment," Beighley said. "And I worked on the trache unit a lot; their supplies were scarce ... it was getting to the point where we would have to hide them so we wouldn't run out of them."
Janvrin said one evening she couldn't find the correct-sized catheter. Janvrin called another nurse who said she had been hiding them in a specific drawer for fear they wouldn't get restocked in a timely manner.
She went on to say even something as small as cleansing wipes, an essential product for the nursing staff, was a challenge. At times, nurses and other staff went out and purchased things for residents themselves.
Beighley and Janvrin said staff were never directed by the company to use their own money on items for work, but as people dedicated to give the best possible care to their clients, they felt they had no choice.
The Republican Eagle contacted Bryce Reps, the human resources director for the Red Wing Healthcare Community, now the Bay View Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, to set up a meeting with Weinberg when he was in town. In a short phone conversation with a reporter, Reps explained that he learned about the selling of the company "kind of through the grapevine."
After initially setting up an interview this for week, Reps called to cancel. When contacted the next day, Reps gave the name and contact information for an attorney who represents Weinberg. After leaving a detailed message with the representative's secretary, reporters never received a reply.
A brief history on Welcov Healthcare
Records show that Welcov was an Edina-based company that once owned about 55 long-term care, short-term care and assisted-living facilities in Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming. By January, however, Welcov managed 22 facilities. The company's decline was made clear by the selling of facilities as well as the poor ratings that facilities received from state inspectors and reviews from families of residents.
On Jan. 3, the Pioneer Press reported that a second person had died in Bethel Care Center, a Welcov-run healthcare community, due to staff not responding to a ventilator alarm.
The Torrington Telegram in Wyoming reported on Jan. 3 that Thomas Boerboom, the company president, said that Welcov was beginning to disband. The paper reported that "the company is currently in the process of 'winding down,'" but also he said he was committed to having a facility in Wyoming.
Welcov declared bankruptcy on Jan. 18. The local facility was purchased by Weinberg, the president and chief executive officer of Weinberg Properties, a real estate developer based out of New York City that specializes in "luxury high rise residential buildings as well as first class retail properties," according to the company's website.
Boerboom and Paul Contris were the president and chief executive officers of Welcov Healthcare when bankruptcy was filed.
Contris worked as the president and CEO of Mission Healthcare, the previous operator of the Red Wing Healthcare Center, with Boerboom coming on board in 2002.
Boerboom and Contris, along with Suzy Boerboom—Boerboom's wife—are the founders of Welcyon, a chain of health clubs designed for adults over 50, according to the company's website.
The Welcov website has not been accessible since at least mid-February. The Republican Eagle attempted to contact Welcov numerous times throughout the investigation process, but no calls were returned.
According to the Welcyon website, Boerboom worked at Beverly Enterprises, another company that operates nursing home facilities around the world and was "recruited" by Contris to work for Mission Healthcare.
The Welcyon website said Boerboom and Contris worked to rebrand the company into one of the "40 largest U.S. long-term care and assisted living systems."
What's next for Beighley, Janvrin
Currently, Beighley is working at St. Crispin Living Community. She had been working on-call at St. Crispin during her time at the healthcare community. She is also planning to return to school in the fall to become an registered nurse.
With four kids and a husband who, on the same day of her employment at Red Wing HealthCare ended, fell and hurt his back, Janvrin said she is looking for work. She said she wishes nothing but the best for Bay View.
"I still am super hopeful that things will be better at the facility for the residents and the staff that are still there," Janvrin said. "I'm just ... I was hanging on."