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Nursing facility to house 120 patients

A national nursing home company will open a skilled-nursing facility for the elderly this month in Federal Way.

Officials of Beverly Healthcare said the “state-of-the-art” center will have room for 120 patients, including 18 beds in a secure unit for persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

The new facility will also offer rehabilitation services, including physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapy, and a program for maintaining and increasing patients’ mobility through prescribed uses of specially designed equipment.

“Our goal is to become the facility of choice for anyone needing post-acute care services,” said Jon Clontz, executive director.

When fully staffed, the facility could have as many as 140 employees when it starts accepting patients approximately June 1. At least 100 workers will be full-time.

Clontz said the facility can complement local assisted-living centers, where residents don’t have complex health issues but do receive help with daily living. If their conditions deteriorate, Beverly Healthcare is ready as a skilled-nursing option to keep patients close to home, he said.

The plan is to “be a key player in the medical community by providing much-needed services to the elderly in Federal Way and surrounding communities,” said Clontz.

The facility is at 135 S. 336th St. Two open houses are scheduled –– today for medical professionals, and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. for the general community. Tours can be arranged by calling 835-7453.

The Federal Way center is the first of its kind for Beverly Healthcare in Washington. The national company has nine other older facilities in the state, most of them in eastern Washington.

Federal Way was chosen as a new territory because of the area’s need for skilled-nursing facilities and its central location, Clontz said.

In King County, some operators in the nursing home industry are struggling to find enough business.

“There are a number of nursing homes with empty beds, and a lot are on the brink of bankruptcy. When new ones open, old ones close,” said Greg Hartburg, regional administrator for home and community services of the state Department of Social and Health Services.

But south King County has a higher demand for nursing facilities because its elderly population is growing, Hartburg said.

And the public “can always use more Alzheimer’s facilities,” he said.

Beverly Healthcare is a subsidiary of Beverly Enterprises. The company, which started in 1963 with a single nursing home, has 561 skilled-nursing facilities and 32 assisted-living centers serving more than 65,000 people in the United States (32 states) and Canada (British Columbia).

Other subsidiaries of the Fort Smith, Ark.-based organization are Beverly Home Care, AEGIS Therapies and MATRIX Rehabilitation. Earlier this year, the company launched a new subsidiary called CERES Strategies, a Web-based system for nursing homes to order products from an on-line catalog.

According to the company Web site (www.beverlycares.com), Beverly Enterprises totaled $48.5 million of income last year before special charges.

Medicaid patients accounted for 24.7 percent of company revenue in 2001, the highest level in three years.

Another growing part of Beverly’s business is special-care units for Alzheimer’s patients. Sixty-two units opened the last two years, and 20 more are scheduled to open in 2002.

In contrast to entering new markets such as Federal Way this year, Beverly Enterprises last year eliminated 14 of its “underperforming” nursing homes and plans to shed about 20 more this year in order to strengthen its nursing home business, chief executive officer William Floyd said in his annual statement to stockholders.

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