Centers Health purchases Beth Abraham

A nursing home facility in the Bronx was recently sold, leaving its employees and residents concerned about the future.

In February, Beth Abraham Health Services, located at 612 Allerton Avenue and previously operated by CenterLight Health System, was sold to Centers Health Care, according to the staff, who are worried about what the future holds for this iconic facility.

Details of the transaction have not been disclosed by either CenterLight or Centers Health Care, which is generating confusion.

Beth Abraham has been a neighborhood staple since the 1920s.

The sale was announced at Community Board 11’s full board meeting in February.

The 90-year-old facility has nearly 450 beds with three floors designated for short-term rehabilitation and two floors dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients.

The nursing home provides more than 100 recreational programs and activities each month for its patients and visitors.

“Since the sale, it seems like the facility’s employees have been kept in the dark – there is definitely uncertainty regarding the future job status of these employees,” said Raphael Schweiser, chairman of the Bronx Park East Community Association.

“Beth Abraham employs, and has employed, many Bronx residents for the past several decades and these employees need to be assured by CenterLight and the new company that their jobs, salaries and benefits will not be affected or diminished by this change. There needs to be much better communication between the two companies and its employees.”

“We (the neighborhood) just hope that the new ownership is as community-minded and community-oriented as the last owners (CenterLight) were,” said Gene DeFrancis, director of the Allerton International Merchants Association.

“As for now, the contacts that we (AIMA) have at Beth Abraham are still employed and we hope that remains to be the case. ” he added.

“This facility has been a major part of this community for 90 years – it’s a landmark,” DeFrancis said.

Councilman Ritchie Torres did not return a request for comment, but his office said that he is aware of the sale and is very concerned.

Torres plans to reach out to the new owner to get further information on the sale and what it will mean for the area’s future, the spokesperson said.

“CenterLight Health System has always been a great asset to the neighborhood,” said Joe Thompson, president of the 49th Precinct Community Council, who also mentioned Mike Fassler, CenterLight’s president, has been a great community partner for years.

“My hopes are that the new organization that takes over continues to be a good partner with the community”, he said.

“We are pleased to work with Centers Health Care,” said Lisa Cesarano, a spokesperson for CenterLight and Beth Abraham. “We know that they will continue our long tradition of excellent care here in the Bronx.”

Centers Health Care was founded in 1996. Williamsbridge Manor was its first skilled nursing facility.

It is headed by CEO Kenny Rozenberg, who owns over 30 nursing homes in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“The addition of the Beth Abraham skilled nursing facility to the Centers Health Care family is another important step forward in our commitment to the people of the Bronx. Centers began in 1996 right here in the Bronx with our first facility, the Williamsbridge Manor Nursing Home, which is consistently rated a five-star facility by Medicare.gov. It has always been one of our goals to provide the most complete care continuum to as many people in the Bronx as possible. Beth Abraham will be our sixth Bronx facility, joining a group that includes a number of unique specialties. Here in the Bronx we offer state of the art, on-site renal dialysis; we have a dedicated ventilator unit for residents with severely compromised respiratory systems; last summer we opened a brand new assisted living facility committed to providing an upscale assisted living alternative to Medicaid recipients; and we recently added the Hope Center which serves those living with AIDS/HIV. And we serve the entire borough and beyond with every level of home care. Bringing Beth Abraham into our family is a natural extension of our ongoing effort to provide the Bronx community with the most complete choice of convenient, high quality, skilled nursing, rehabilitation and home care,” said Rozenberg.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at sgoodstein@cnglocal.com.

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