The management of the Manzanita Manor senior care center has been taken over by the property's landlord, and the facility's former administrator, Payson Mayor Ken Murphy, has been hired to oversee the transition and turn the business around financially with no interruption of service.
Representatives of the landlord, the California-based Payson Investment Group, were able last Friday to negotiate an agreement with Mark Yampol, to "voluntarily release his many rights to the lease instead of having to fight it out in court," Murphy said Wednesday. "Mark is no longer affiliated with the facility."
Yampol, a resident of Tucson, leased and managed the Manzanita Manor senior health care building complex through his Tucson-based company, Community Care LLC.
Two-and-a-half weeks ago, the assets of five Yampol-managed properties including Manzanita Manor and the Peppertree Apartments in Payson were put up for auction by the Tucson attorneys of an unidentified creditor to whom Yampol owed $940,000.
All but Manzanita Manor were acquired at that time by the creditor, and the Manzanita Manor auction was rescheduled for last Tuesday. But because of the agreement reached between Yampol and Payson Investment Group which leaves Yampol with all receivables and debts incurred during his management of the facility that auction was canceled.
According to reports in the Tucson newspaper The Arizona Daily Star, Yampol's business history includes a number of health care facility foreclosures and dozens of lawsuits initiated by unpaid creditors since 1999.
Manzanita Manor checks authorized by Yampol's company "are bouncing for non-sufficient funds. Everybody is showing up here looking for money, and all we can tell them is, 'Sorry, new company,'" Murphy said. "I feel absolutely terrible about it. We'll help in any way we can, but there's only so much we can do. The good news is that the new company starts at zero zero debt and zero obligations. "
When the Payson Investment Group took control of Manzanita Manor Friday, its first course of action was to contact the Missouri-based Health Facilities Management Corp., which operates 31 long-term care nursing homes and nursing care facilities in Missouri, Arkansas, and in the Arizona cities of Yuma, Kingman, Lake Havasu and Prescott.
And the first course of action taken by William C. Mitchell, HFMC's vice-president of program development and licensure, was to hire Murphy.
"Bill Mitchell contacted me last week and asked me to come on board as an employee of Health Facilities Management to help in the transition, to get things turned around, and to see what we can do to fix the building," Murphy said. "I told him I'd do anything I could to help, because I care about the employees and the families. It's been a very stressful situation for them."
Operating as a trustee for the Payson Investment Group through Health Facilities Management, it is now Murphy's job to set up accounts, negotiate new agreements with vendors, and "basically start up an operation from scratch," he said. "The first thing we have to do is make it financially viable, and I think we can."
Payson Investment Group will continue to oversee and fund the operation, Murphy said, "until it is decided if they want to get an operating lease. Right now, we're looking at budgets, rehiring staff and doing all the things that it takes to get the operation stabilized."
As for the level of care offered to Manzanita Manor residents, Murphy said, "This has always been an excellent facility. The state has been coming in every week and monitoring the facility to make sure that there are supplies and no health care related issues. So far, everything has been fine."
And what would he say to concerned families of Manzanita Manor residents?
"I would say that this is going to be a better facility than it ever has been," Murphy said. "They should be confident that my personal commitment and the commitment of Health Facilities Management is that we are going to take care of people, and that we are going to do it right."