UPDATE: Admissions halted at Limecrest

ANDOVER TWP. Since September, seven residents have died of COVID-19 at the nursing home and 66 staff members and residents have tested positive for the virus, an article says.

| 30 Nov 2023 | 09:44

The state Department of Health has halted admissions at Limecrest Subacute and Rehabilitation Center in Andover Township and ordered its owners to hire a consultant to run it, Mayor Thomas Walsh said Monday, Nov. 27.

Since September, seven residents have died of COVID-19 at the nursing home, according to an article by NJ Advance Media published online Wednesday, Nov. 22.

Sixty-six residents and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 during that time, the report said. The facility has 159 beds.

Limecrest posted on its website Nov. 19 that six residents and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. On Sept. 27, it said two residents and two staff members had tested positive, and on Aug. 9, it said seven staff members and one patient had tested positive.

Calls to Limecrest and the state Health Department on Friday, Nov. 24 and Monday, Nov. 27 were not returned.

Sussex County health officer Jennifer Shortino noted that there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in long-term-care facilities throughout the state recently.

“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 Tuesday, Nov. 28.

“We are working in conjunction with the township to increase lines of communication, but we found out about this just as the township did - in the paper. Nothing about this from the state made its way to my office.”

Early in pandemic

In the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, in April 2020, 17 bodies were found stored in a small room at Andover Subacute II nursing home in the township. Eighty-three residents there, nearly one in six, died of COVID-19 in the first four months of the pandemic.

That nursing home at 99 Mulford Road and a related facility at 1 O’Brien Place were renamed the Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center at Andover.

The large building on Mulford Road continued to operate until August 2022, when the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services withdrew funding. New Jersey had revoked its license three months earlier.

The smaller one on O’Brien Place was renamed Limecrest.

On Monday, Walsh said he spoke to officials in the state Health Department and Gov. Phil Murphy’s office who confirmed the information in the article.

Vernon police officers were at Limecrest on Monday and reported that people there were not wearing masks, he said.

State Health Department officials told Walsh that if Limecrest does not follow its order, final approval of a sale of the facility could be in jeopardy.

In March, Limecrest’s owner, Alliance HC Holdings, told the state Health Department that it planned to transfer ownership of its license and operations to Bemet LLC, which is owned by Judy Kushner

The real estate and improvements would continue to be owned by BNJD O’Brien Property LLC and would be leased to Bemet.

Kushner planned to hire Advanced Healthcare LLC, run by David Heinemann, to manage the facility.

Alliance HC Holdings is owned equally by Chaim Scheinbaum and Louis Schwartz. They also co-owned Andover Subacute Facility I and II, where the bodies were found in 2020.