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Sylvia Fedele and Randy Brothers are residents of Crescent Manor care center in Bennington. (Peter Crabtree)
Sylvia Fedele and Randy Brothers are residents of Crescent Manor care center in Bennington. (Peter Crabtree)
Sylvia Fedele and Randy Brothers are residents of Crescent Manor care center in Bennington. (Peter Crabtree)
Wednesday July 3, 2013

NEAL P. GOSWAMI

Senior Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- The Crescent Manor Care Center has been sold to a new entity and will continue to operate as a nursing facility after receiving a certificate of need from the state.

OVT Realty LLC completed the $4 million purchase of the nursing home on June 17. The home will be leased to CM Healthcare LLC, a related entity created to operate the home. The home had been owned by its president, K. Elaine Neely, and Jack Merselis MD. The two had been working together since 1968.

The sale price included $3.4 million for the real property and $600,000 in personal property. Half a million dollars of the personal property is listed as "goodwill," a value placed on work that has gone into building up the business, according to Bennington Town Clerk Timothy Corcoran.

The property is assessed by the town at about $2.7 million.

Information about who the individual members of the new ownership group are was not available Tuesday.

According to the Crescent Manor website, the facility was founded in 1964 by David and Marie Alexander. Crescent Manor then joined with Sweet Brook Nursing Home, in Williamstown, Mass., in 1979.

The home has provided palliative care, rehabilitation services, short-term respite care, dementia care and has a unit dedicated to Huntington's Disease. It is the only state-licensed facility in Vermont to provide care for Huntington's Disease. According to state documents, CM Healthcare, the new entity created to operate the home, will maintain the home's 90-bed capacity and its programs.

"Seamless transition"

In its decision to issue a certificate of need, the Vermont Green Mountain Care Board wrote that Neeley and Merselis wish to retire. The purchase by CM Healthcare "will allow for a seamless transition of service for residents." The new ownership has retained the administrator, director of nursing and medical director.

There were several conditions to be met to obtain the certificate of need. CM Healthcare had to provide that it had at least $1 million per occurrence in liability insurance and at least $3 million in aggregate. An organizational chart had to be supplied for both the real estate and operations of the facility. Additionally, the facility had to provide a copy of any survey conducted by the Vermont Division of Licensing and Protection, the state agent for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare.

In the application for a certificate of need, the applicants indicated they have experience in owning and operating a nursing home. One of the principal members operates a 121-bed skilled nursing facility in Cherry Hill, N.J.

According to CMS, the Cherry Hill facility has an overall rating of "average," but both quality and staffing ratings are "above average." The Bennington facility was last rated by CMS overall as "much below average," with a staffing rating of "average" and a quality rating of "above average."

Based on information provided in its application, Green Mountain Care Board staff wrote in their report that "it is expected that the overall rating (of the Bennington facility) will improve under new ownership."

The new ownership group expects to provide care to residents with higher needs, which will lead to hiring 3.6 additional full-time equivalent employees over the next three years, according to the staff report.

Officials at the home did not return calls seeking comment on Tuesday.

Contact Neal P. Goswami at ngoswami@benningtonbanner.com, or follow on Twitter: @nealgoswami