MOUNT PLEASANT — The Atrium at Becker-Shoop, one of the former Lincoln Lutheran of Racine care facilities, is closing, and some residents are being moved to Ridgewood Care Center.
Becker-Shoop, 6101 16th St., is one-half skilled nursing and short-term, live-in rehabilitation facility and one-half memory care facility. The rehab side was a bustle of activity Friday morning as some of those residents were being moved to Ridgewood, 3205 Wood Road, Mount Pleasant.
Until now, Becker-Shoop has been under the management of Watertown-based Marquardt Management Co. Marquardt took over that facility and four others in spring 2015, a few months after the now-defunct Lincoln Lutheran entered a voluntary receivership. Receivership is an alternative under Wisconsin law to bankruptcy for organizations that are insolvent.
Racine County Corporation Counsel Jonathan Lehman said Friday that county officials learned about one week earlier that Marquardt had an exit strategy for Becker-Shoop and that the county was being asked to accept residents from the skilled-nursing side.
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“At some point (Marquardt) decided they would no longer operate a skilled-nursing facility there, and the county was brought in,” Lehman said.
Residents and their families are also free to go someplace other than Ridgewood, Lehman pointed out.
However, Ridgewood has no ability to take residents of Becker-Shoop’s memory-care side, he said, because it lacks those specialized facilities. Families of those residents would have to seek suitable care elsewhere.
Ridgewood is still county-owned, although the County Board has approved a sale of the center to Illinois-based Altitude Health Services. The sale is expected to close on about Aug. 1, Lehman said.
The county’s first response, upon learning it was being asked to take Becker-Shoop residents, was to contact Altitude’s president, Lehman said. Altitude is being “very supportive” under the circumstances and is working with the county, he said.
Similarly, there are staff members at Becker-Shoop who may well be recruited to Ridgewood, Lehman said, because there is a need there.
Marquardt has been in the news for other reasons recently. In late May, the company voluntarily placed into receivership two of the five properties it was managing in Racine: The Atrium, 3900 N. Main St., a 76-unit senior housing facility; and Bay Pointe, 3950 N. Main St., a 40-unit assisted living facility. The two were operated under one corporation called The Atrium of Racine.
That receivership has cast doubt on the ability of Atrium residents and their families to recover the large initiation fees residents paid, often well over $100,000 per apartment. Retired Circuit Court Judge Dennis Flynn and local attorneys Robb Weber and John Becker have offered to help them determine what options, if any, they have to try to recover their money.
Marquardt executives again declined requests for comment Friday, as they have done consistently in recent weeks.
“At some point (Marquardt Management Co.) decided they would no longer operate a skilled-nursing facility there, and the county was brought in.”
— Racine County Corporation Counsel Jonathan Lehman