Jefferson Hills nursing home co-owner blames ‘chaos’ on Health Dept.

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One of the two co-owners of Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation is defending the closed facility and blaming the Pennsylvania Department of Health for its problems.Shaya Zidele calls the closing “very, very unfortunate” and says he came into health care in Pennsylvania “to provide good care in a safe and family-like environment.”He blamed the state health department for the nursing home facing what he described as “constantly chaos” and said, “The Department of Health constantly visiting created a sense of chaos.”Zidele said the Department of Health, in addition to being there to “assure it’s is running properly and providing care, it should be there to support. It’s the feeling of the company; they feel they’re being burdened tremendously.”Asked what his message is to the patients and their families about the closing, Zidele said, “It was a very painful, emotional decision to make, how to promptly proceed, because of constant bombardment from” health officials.He said the state Department of Health had “no reason to impose a ban (on new admissions last fall), lifting it Jan. 26 but limiting the number (of new admissions).”Zidele described as “a death sentence to the facility” a state restriction at that time. He said allowed the nursing home only to allow admission of new patients to replace patients who had died.He said the state restrictions “inhibited our cash” and had Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation at 50% of its capacity.”It becomes crippling,” Zidele said. “We feel they have it out to not allow Jefferson to succeed. We paid all vendors on time, made every payroll.” Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 found Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation is listed in court documents as a defendant in lawsuits over payment of various debts. The disputes include payments to an agency that makes nurses available on a per day basis and payments for health insurance coverage of employees.Some employees have told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 that there were a number of occasions when they were not paid and that vendors were not being paid or not being paid on time.Zidele said prior to late February, only one payroll had been delayed by one day.Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation has blamed its failure to pay employees in late February on a cyberattack against a claim and payment clearinghouse which is a subsidiary of United Healthcare. It has said the impact of the cyberattack, combined with the impact of state health department restrictions and admission bans affected the company’s cash flow.Zidele said that led “to the decision to temporarily close until it can re-stabilize.”Asked when he hoped Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation will reopen, Zidele said, “I’m not a prophet.”The co-owner spoke with Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 by phone from out of state and declined to agree to a recorded video or audio interview.Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has responded via email to Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 questions about the Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation case.Asked if the closing of the facility is permanent, spokesman Mark O’Neill wrote, “The department is unable to comment on the long-term status of the facility.”Asked for a response to the nursing home’s claims about the Health Department, O’Neill wrote, “In our role as the regulator of long-term care facilities, the Department’s top priority is to ensure resident safety. Facilities are required to meet the minimum health and safety standards outlined in state and federal regulations, and the Department is responsible for ensuring those regulatory requirements are met.”O’Neill said, “The department has worked with the facility over the last several months to address regulatory issues, incuding concerns with adequate staffing.”Regarding pay owed to employees of Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation, the Health Department said it “does not have a direct role in employee payroll issues. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has been made aware of the payroll situation.”Asked about the results of Health Department inspections at the nursing home last week, O’Neill wrote, “Information about any survey conducted at a skilled care facility is made available on the Department of Health’s public webpage at least 41 days after the conclusion of the survey at the facility.”One civil complaint filed in court refers to Bonamour Health Group, LLC, doing business as Jefferson Hills Operating LLC, doing business as Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.The website for Bonamour Health Group lists Shaya Zidele as its chief executive officer and Mike Zidele as its chief financial officer. A filing by attorneys who represented Bonamour, in responding to one of the lawsuits, refers to “defendants Bonamour Health Group LLC, Shaya Zidele, and Mordecai Zidele, also known as Mike Zidele.”That document explains that “as a matter of background, the individual defendants, Shaya and Mike are members of six limited liability companies that operate six different nursing homes in western Pennsylvania, known as Jefferson Hills, Beaver, Mulberry, Ridgeview, Lakeview, and Scottdale. Each of the six nursing homes is separately operated by a different limited liability company and each of those limited liability companies is the employer of staff at each facility.”

One of the two co-owners of Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation is defending the closed facility and blaming the Pennsylvania Department of Health for its problems.

Shaya Zidele calls the closing “very, very unfortunate” and says he came into health care in Pennsylvania “to provide good care in a safe and family-like environment.”

He blamed the state health department for the nursing home facing what he described as “constantly chaos” and said, “The Department of Health constantly visiting created a sense of chaos.”

Zidele said the Department of Health, in addition to being there to “assure it’s is running properly and providing care, it should be there to support. It’s the feeling of the company; they feel they’re being burdened tremendously.”

Asked what his message is to the patients and their families about the closing, Zidele said, “It was a very painful, emotional decision to make, how to promptly proceed, because of constant bombardment from” health officials.

He said the state Department of Health had “no reason to impose a ban (on new admissions last fall), lifting it Jan. 26 but limiting the number (of new admissions).”

Zidele described as “a death sentence to the facility” a state restriction at that time. He said allowed the nursing home only to allow admission of new patients to replace patients who had died.

He said the state restrictions “inhibited our cash” and had Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation at 50% of its capacity.

“It becomes crippling,” Zidele said. “We feel they have it out to not allow Jefferson to succeed. We paid all vendors on time, made every payroll.”

Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 found Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation is listed in court documents as a defendant in lawsuits over payment of various debts. The disputes include payments to an agency that makes nurses available on a per day basis and payments for health insurance coverage of employees.

Some employees have told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 that there were a number of occasions when they were not paid and that vendors were not being paid or not being paid on time.

Zidele said prior to late February, only one payroll had been delayed by one day.

Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation has blamed its failure to pay employees in late February on a cyberattack against a claim and payment clearinghouse which is a subsidiary of United Healthcare. It has said the impact of the cyberattack, combined with the impact of state health department restrictions and admission bans affected the company’s cash flow.

Zidele said that led “to the decision to temporarily close until it can re-stabilize.”

Asked when he hoped Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation will reopen, Zidele said, “I’m not a prophet.”

The co-owner spoke with Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 by phone from out of state and declined to agree to a recorded video or audio interview.

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has responded via email to Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 questions about the Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation case.

Asked if the closing of the facility is permanent, spokesman Mark O’Neill wrote, “The department is unable to comment on the long-term status of the facility.”

Asked for a response to the nursing home’s claims about the Health Department, O’Neill wrote, “In our role as the regulator of long-term care facilities, the Department’s top priority is to ensure resident safety. Facilities are required to meet the minimum health and safety standards outlined in state and federal regulations, and the Department is responsible for ensuring those regulatory requirements are met.”

O’Neill said, “The department has worked with the facility over the last several months to address regulatory issues, incuding concerns with adequate staffing.”

Regarding pay owed to employees of Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation, the Health Department said it “does not have a direct role in employee payroll issues. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has been made aware of the payroll situation.”

Asked about the results of Health Department inspections at the nursing home last week, O’Neill wrote, “Information about any survey conducted at a skilled care facility is made available on the Department of Health’s public webpage at least 41 days after the conclusion of the survey at the facility.”

One civil complaint filed in court refers to Bonamour Health Group, LLC, doing business as Jefferson Hills Operating LLC, doing business as Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.

The website for Bonamour Health Group lists Shaya Zidele as its chief executive officer and Mike Zidele as its chief financial officer.

A filing by attorneys who represented Bonamour, in responding to one of the lawsuits, refers to “defendants Bonamour Health Group LLC, Shaya Zidele, and Mordecai Zidele, also known as Mike Zidele.”

That document explains that “as a matter of background, the individual defendants, Shaya and Mike are members of six limited liability companies that operate six different nursing homes in western Pennsylvania, known as Jefferson Hills, Beaver, Mulberry, Ridgeview, Lakeview, and Scottdale. Each of the six nursing homes is separately operated by a different limited liability company and each of those limited liability companies is the employer of staff at each facility.”

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