News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, November 15, 2012 and The Weekly Packet, November 15, 2012
PNH subject of continual legal maneuvering, fate still unclear

by Faith DeAmbrose

Sometimes no news is good news, and that may be the case where Penobscot Nursing Home is concerned, although as of press time, that can’t actually be confirmed.

The facility, which has been in court appointed receivership since 2008, was the subject of a two-day court session in Augusta on October 25 and 26. This hearing comes months after the Maine Department of Health and Human Services filed with the Kennebec County Superior Court to end the receivership and transfer the PNH bed rights to a for-profit company seeking to build a nursing facility in Bucksport.

According to Blue Hill Selectman Jim Schatz who attended the hearing along with Penobscot’s three selectmen, Chairman Paul Bowen, Stanley Shorey and Harold Hatch, the negotiations are confidential and details will not be released until all parties have agreed on how to move forward.

The May filing from DHHS which set the process is notion has been the subject of numerous motions to intervene. The Peninsula towns of Penobscot and Blue Hill filed a motion to intervene in the process, stating that the loss of the facility would negatively impact Penobscot and surrounding areas. Also seeking to intervene was Island Nursing Home, which withdrew its motion October 24 and did not participate in the recent hearings. The nonprofit nursing and residential care facility located in Deer Isle was also asking the court to attain bed rights should the facility close.

Former PNH owner Wendall Dennison filed a separate court motion this past spring to foreclose on the property since he technically holds the mortgage on the property, although that is not allowed under the laws of receivership. Dennison sold PNH to Connecticut-based Eagle Landing Residential Care in 2006. Denison was represented at the recent hearing, as was Eagle Landing.

Schatz said that another conference of the attorneys will take place at the end of November, but it is unclear whether a settlement will be reached at that time.