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Senior Care Plaza Closing, Residents Displaced

Lysle Blvd. facility was in longtime dispute with state regulators

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
April 13, 2023
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Senior Care Plaza has been located in the former McKeesport Sheraton Inn since 1992. The facility has announced it is closing May 1. (Tube City Almanac photo)

A Downtown personal care home is closing May 1 after a long battle with state regulators over licensing issues.

Senior Care Plaza, located on Lysle Boulevard, has notified family members about the closure. It has been operating under a provisional license since March 2021, according to files at the state Department of Human Services. The facility, located in the former McKeesport Sheraton Inn, has been open since 1992.

A commercial kitchen that provides service to other providers will remain in operation.

State records indicate the facility is licensed for 100 beds, but according to several sources speaking on condition of anonymity, Senior Care Plaza has not been at full occupancy for some time.

Fewer than 20 residents are currently living at Senior Care Plaza, according to someone familiar with the situation.

A person answering the phones at Senior Care Plaza on Thursday confirmed the facility will be closing, but said employees were not authorized to speak to the media. The facility reportedly has 29 employees.

News of the care home’s closing broke following the issuance Wednesday of a press release by McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, who said the facility is voluntarily closing due to “non-compliance issues.”

A second person familiar with Senior Care Plaza, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Tube City Almanac that workers were surprised and upset by Cherepko’s press release, and said the facility is safe.

The second person blamed the facility’s woes on staff turnover during the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020, including frequent changes in administrators. The second person added that the facility unsuccessfully reached out to state elected officials for help with its licensure problems.

Cherepko also addressed rumors circulating on social media that the nearby Eat ’n Park may close soon. Eat ’n Park is not closing, said both the mayor’s office and a spokeswoman for the Homestead-based restaurant chain.

Filings at the state Corporations Bureau list the owners of Senior Care Plaza Associates Inc. as Alma Hoffman and Dale Hoffman, both of Elizabeth Twp.

The Hoffmans could not immediately be reached for comment.

There is speculation that a new owner may be acquiring Senior Care Plaza. A state filing from November 2022 lists a company called “LionStone Care 325 LLC” as the owner of the newly registered fictitious name “Senior Care Plaza.”

Court documents in a lawsuit against Senior Care Plaza also list “LionStone Care 325 LLC” as a co-defendant.

LionStone Care is an Ohio-based operator of nursing homes and personal care facilities in New Jersey and Ohio, including locations in Akron and Youngstown. The privately held company does not list any staff on its website and does not provide a phone number for its corporate offices.

Emails were sent Thursday by Tube City Almanac to executives at LionStone Care asking if the company plans to acquire Senior Care Plaza. Messages were not immediately returned.

According to filings with state regulators, Senior Care Plaza is represented by Capozzi Adler, P.C., but a spokesperson said Thursday the law firm was not authorized to speak to the media on behalf of the facility.

• View state inspection records (external link)

Records at the state Department of Human Services website show Senior Care Plaza had a relatively clean record until 2017, but that inspections and violations began to pile up in 2018. Inspectors visited the facility eight times in 2019, seven times in 2020 and nine times in 2021.

On March 11, 2021, the state Department of Human Services revoked Senior Care Plaza’s license to operate and placed the facility on a provisional license.

In a letter to Senior Care Plaza obtained by Tube City Almanac, the agency’s enforcement manager, Shivani Patel, accused Senior Care Plaza of “failure to submit an acceptable plan to correct noncompliance items, failure to comply with the acceptable plan to correct noncompliance items, mistreatment or abuse of clients being cared for in the facility or receiving service from the agency, and gross incompetence, negligence or misconduct in operating the facility or agency.”

According to a review of state inspection reports by Tube City Almanac, violations in 2020 and 2021 alleged by inspectors included missing paperwork for some patients, personal patient information left in public view, evidence of bed bugs, patients wearing unclean clothing, and medication and cleaning supplies left unsupervised in a dementia ward.

The state began levying fines of $3 per patient per day for each violation, according to state records.

In September 2021, the fines were calculated at $9,920 for a 15-day period, and the state warned the facility that penalties would “continue to accumulate and will be recalculated at the end of each month.”

Senior Care Plaza appealed and submitted corrective action plans. Records indicate the corrective action plan was approved but a hearing on the fines has not been held.

The person who spoke on condition of anonymity said that state inspectors seemed to be intent on penalizing the facility for relatively small infractions.

The most recent recorded inspection was Oct. 24, 2022. According to the report, state regulators alleged that “poisonous materials” — cleaning supplies, including Spic ’n Span — were not locked up; hot water temperatures were set at 125 degrees, rather than 120 degrees; fire extinguishers had expired inspection stickers; a dresser in a patient’s room had broken handles; a container of spaghetti sauce was left uncovered in a commercial freezer; and that lint was present in a clothes dryer.

The state Department of Human Services did not immediately respond to a message from Tube City Almanac seeking comment on the alleged violations.

Originally published April 13, 2023.

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