Abington Crest Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, 1267 S. Hill Road, is currently empty, three months after the Summit Township retirement home was sold for $2.54 million.
That wasn’t the plan, according to the facility’s new owners, Penn Health Partners.
“It was purchased to be a retirement home,” said Holli King, acting administrator of Twinbrook Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, a Lawrence Park Township retirement home that was also purchased in 2021 by Penn Health Partners.
Those plans changed shortly after the sale of Abington Crest was completed on December 20. The 30 residents who lived in the retirement home at the time of the sale were then given 30 days to find alternative accommodation.
Most of them moved to Twinbrook in early February, King said. A few others have moved to different nursing homes.
Penn Health Partners changed its mind about Abington Crest because the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult to operate a skilled nursing facility, the company said in a press release.
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He cited the effect the pandemic has had on nursing home occupancy levels, reimbursement and staffing.
“It is for this reason that the decision was made to consolidate skilled nursing resources (at Twinbrook) and work towards the repurposing of Abington Crest as the first reasonably priced personal care home in the area,” said said Penn Health Partners in a press release.
Personal care homes are not medically licensed like nursing homes and do not include skilled nursing units like nursing homes do.
King said Penn Health Partners is based in Pittsburgh. The company did not list an address on its press release, which was sent by King, and no company website or Facebook page could be found.
Erie County property records show Twinbrook was sold April 26 to a limited liability company, Twinbrook Propco, for $3.675 million. Abington Crest was sold to another limited company, Abington Crest PropCo.
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Both LLCs listed the same address in Lakewood, New Jersey. A phone message left with a number associated with the businesses was not returned.
The closure of Abington Crest has, at least temporarily, taken 80 licensed nursing home beds out of circulation at a time when those beds are in demand. Erie hospital officials said they are struggling to place discharged patients in area nursing homes due to understaffing at many of those facilities.
If Abington Crest reopens as a personal care home, it won’t need those 80 bed licenses. It is unclear what would happen to these bed licenses.
“(Abington Crest) still has the 80 beds,” King said, referring to the licensing. “They won’t be needed if it’s just for personal care.”
King said she was unaware of Abington Crest’s reopening schedule. It was not addressed in the press release.