Columbus Regional Healthcare System is getting out of the nursing home business, confirming Tuesday it has sold the operations of Hamilton House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to Muscogee Manor Center.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. But the sales contract calls for Muscogee Manor to
take over care of Hamilton House and its approximately 120 residents starting July 1. The 128-bed facility is located at 1911 5th Ave., near the intersection of Talbotton and Hamilton roads in downtown Columbus.
"We will no longer have a long-term care facility like Hamilton House," said Columbus Regional spokeswoman Marion Scott.
The health care system, which operates The Medical Center and Doctors Hospital in the same area as Hamilton House, did not sell the building or land that the nursing home sits on.
Muscogee Manor will lease the property until it completes construction of a $27 million nursing home facility near the intersection of Whitesville and Williams roads in north Columbus. The 200-bed, 168,000-square-foot care center is expected to open in the spring of 2014.
After that, the Hamilton House structure will be torn down and become "green space" until Columbus Regional decides to develop it. Scott said she was not aware of any current plans on the drawing board for the site.
Columbus Regional had owned Hamilton House since 1990. Chuck Stark, the system's president and chief executive officer, said he toured the nursing facility and came away impressed by its staff, but not by the building itself.
"I recognized our physical plant there did not match the incredible level of those caregivers providing care to the Hamilton House residents, nor what I wanted for the residents of that facility," he said.
Stark said Columbus Regional's board of directors backed his decision not to renovate the facility, but instead find a new home for residents and demolish the structure. He and the board also ruled out the system constructing a new center of its own.
"In looking at what Muscogee Manor Center has planned and their advanced state of construction off Williams Road, it was clear that the fastest way to get our Hamilton House residents and their caregivers into a new facility was to partner with Muscogee Manor Center," he said.
Hamilton House employs 126 people, including nurses, certified nursing assistants and housekeeping staff. Columbus Regional said its human resources office will help the facility's employees land jobs with Muscogee Manor, which currently operates a nursing home on Schatulga Road in east Columbus.
"We also will be working with our graduate medical education program and the local physicians providing care at Hamilton House to ensure a smooth transition and their continued participation in the care and services at Hamilton House," Stark said.
Aside from a nursing home and rehabilitation center, Muscogee Manor also operates Cobis Personal Care Home, Muscogee Home Health Agency, Muscogee Home Care and Azalea Trace Nursing Center.
A May 2012 review by US News & World Report -- updated in April and using methodology approved by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services -- listed a rating of 2 stars out of 5 for overall care provided at Hamilton House, which is below the national average.
That was the same 2-star rating given by CMS itself. The CMS criteria and results included health inspections (much below average), nurse staffing (above average) and quality ratings (above average).