CAMDEN CITY NJ--The Most Reverend Dennis J. Sullivan, Bishop of Camden, has approved, pending consultation with diocesan advisory bodies, the consensus of a blue-ribbon advisory committee that the Diocese of Camden seek a buyer for its three nursing homes: Our Lady’s MultiCare Center in Pleasantville; Bishop McCarthy Residence in Vineland; and Saint Mary’s Catholic Home in Cherry Hill, including The Manor at Saint Mary’s, a residential health care facility.
Proceeds from the sale of the properties will be directed to pastoral initiatives that will seek to transform health care ministry to the poor and frail elderly through parish-based programs. These programs will also assist families with a wide range of other health related issues, such as autism, care for the homebound and the dying.
“We are not only seeking ways to change the way we minister to the elderly, but also to expand the health-care ministry of the Church,” said Bishop Sullivan. “While our commitment to ministry to the elderly continues, we need to be creative in finding new means to support that work, for the current nursing-home model cannot be sustained. Furthermore, we want to see a health care ministry that meets the many needs that parents encounter concerning both their young children and their own aging parents.”
The committee, comprised of physicians, attorneys, clergy, administrators of health care institutions and finance experts, looked at how Medicaid-managed care is expected to place further financial stress on the homes as government programs continue to divert seniors from nursing facilities to home and community-based services. Nursing home occupancy continues to decrease in New Jersey. Last year, insufficient Medicaid reimbursement to the nursing homes created a shortfall of $6 million.
The diocese will ask that prospective buyers maintain the Catholic identity of the nursing homes, including allowing for religious services and compliance with the Church’s moral teachings on medical ethics and end-of-life care. Buyers will be required to allow current residents to remain in the homes. The diocese will also ask any new buyers to maintain the current staff.
The consulting firm Raymond James is assisting the diocese in this effort.