Limecrest Subacute and Rehabilitation Center in Andover Township is under new ownership, Mayor Thomas Walsh confirmed Friday, Feb. 2.

The nursing home’s owner and a woman named Judy Kushner had an agreement for a contract to be signed no later than March 23, giving her control over the facility, Walsh said.

If Kushner did not take over by March 23, Limecrest’s Medicaid funding would have been stopped, guaranteeing a shutdown by the state.

“The Department of Health is committed to ensuring the health and safety of the facility’s residents and to holding the facility accountable for compliance with the statutory and regulatory requirements pertaining to the operations of the nursing home, including resident notice requirements,” said Nancy Kearney, deputy director, communications for the department.

“New Jersey residents deserve high-quality long-term care and we are working together, in an ongoing collaboration with the Office of the State Comptroller’s Medicaid Fraud Division, the Department of Human Services and the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, to support that at Limecrest and across our state. Such collaboration is essential to avoiding disruption in the care of residents while holding the facility accountable for delivering high-quality services.”

Walsh earlier said he did not know the name of Kushner’s company, but he said she owns nursing facilities in Cranford and Little Egg Harbor.

An Internet search shows that Kushner is involved in several limited liability companies.

No concerns about care

Jill Space, director of the Sussex County Board of County Commissioners, reported at the board’s meeting Jan. 24 that Limecrest had 111 residents as of a day earlier.

“New Jersey DOH officials confirmed that after numerous visits and monitoring of the facility over the past several months, they do not have concerns about the current quality of care of the 111 residents housed at Limecrest and that all previous respiratory outbreaks, including COVID, had been concluded,” she said.

Only one person at the facility then had COVID-19.

”The safety and well-being of all the residents housed at Limecrest are the utmost concern of the board,” she added.

In November, the state Department of Health halted admissions there after concerns arose that the facility, owned by Chaim “Mutty” Scheinbaum and Louis Schwartz of Alliance Holdings, was not taking proper precautions to prevent the spread of the new virus.

The number of COVID-19 cases among patients and staff in the facility spiked in September, with a higher-than-usual fatality rate among patients.

This was especially concerning to officials because another senior-care facility in Andover under the same ownership was closed and ultimately sold in the wake of 17 bodies being found in a small room there in April 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.

Limecrest was not the only nursing home in the state to be barred from accepting new patients last fall, Sussex County Health Officer Jennifer Shortino explained at that time.

“The concern at Limecrest is they have had several deaths and, as licensing agent for the facility, the state Department of Health has taken steps to address it as best they can,” she said Nov. 28. “I can say with confidence Limecrest is not the only one in the state being barred from taking on new patients.”

Recent attempts to reach her were unsuccessful as were multiple calls and emails to Limecrest officials.

“We do not want a repeat of what happened with the other facility, when it was shut down and the township faced serious cash-flow issues due to tax-base erosion,” Walsh said.

“After nearly losing out on over $1 million in revenue due to unpaid real estate taxes, we were fortunate to find a buyer to purchase the tax sale certificate on that property.”

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