News Feature

Penobscot
Originally published in Castine Patriot, August 20, 2015
Northern Bay Residential Living Center update
Three outcomes possible in court case involving ELR Care receivership

The Northern Bay Residential Living Center

The Northern Bay Residential Living Center continued its operation after the Penobscot Nursing Home, housed within the same building, closed in 2014.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

The financial problems of ELR Care, the parent company of Northern Bay Residential Living Center, may be resolved by the Maine Business and Consumer Court in Portland this fall. The trial, which stems from the receivership appointed to ELR Care by the court in 2008, was under way last March when the former receiver, Lisa Gosselin, resigned after she was arrested in New Hampshire on charges of embezzlement from a New Hampshire assisted living facility.

All action in the trial was delayed and resumed in June, after a new receiver was appointed. The new receiver, Bob Armstrong of Armstrong Consulting, Inc., said he anticipates “some type of preliminary decision from the court” in October.

Armstrong also outlined possible outcomes of the trial, and the receivership, in a recent call with Castine Patriot.

“The homes could return to the original owner, the receivership continue as it is or go into another phase where the owner wouldn’t be involved,” Armstrong said.

If the court decides to remove the owner’s participation from the receivership, then the receiver would work with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services “to come to a permanent plan,” he continued.

The goal of a permanent plan would be to find another nursing home company to take over the Penobscot facility and run it as part of their nursing home group, “speaking hypothetically,” Armstrong said. “That would be our first goal.”

Armstrong works with DHHS and Sifwat Ali, the owner of seven elder care facilities in Maine, including the Penobscot center, operating as ELR Care. The Penobscot Nursing Home, housed in the same facility, was closed after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services terminated its provider agreement because of failure to maintain compliance with Medicare requirements, according to a press release issued by the DHHS at that time.

In 2012, DHHS had sought to lift the receivership in order to sell the nursing home bed rights, worth about $2 million, but after an 18-month extension was given to ELR Care, the bed rights remained unsold. After the nursing home closed, those rights returned to the DHHS.

The role of a receiver is to manage the finances of a company under litigation. “I work with the court, the [health and human services] department and the owner,” Armstrong said. “We maintain the property and run the home in the best way for the residents.”

He emphasized that “there is no action, no plan that I’m aware of to close the facility. We hope to have that facility in the community for years. That’s my goal.”