Philadelphia-area nursing home staffers facing big financial hits from ownership changes

Somerton Center
Somerton Center in Northeast Philadelphia, a former Genesis Healthcare facility, has a new owner. Workers are facing pay and benefit cuts.

The new owners of former Genesis Healthcare facilities, Somerton Center in Philadelphia and Garden Springs Center in Willow Grove, are attempting to impose steep pay and benefit reductions on dietary, housekeeping, and laundry workers, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania said Thursday.

When Vita Healthcare Group of Lakewood, N.J., bought the former Genesis nursing homes June 1, it put pay caps in place that amount to an $11,000 annual pay cut for some veteran employees, and it plans to increase the amount deducted every two weeks for family health insurance, including dental and vision, to $565 from $229 starting July 1, the union said.

Representatives of Vita, which owned four nursing homes including Luther Woods in Hatboro before acquiring the two Genesis sites, did not respond to messages left at Garden Springs and Somerton Center, as well as at its New Jersey headquarters.

When Saber Healthcare Group, based near Cleveland, acquired the operations of Langhorne Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Center and nine other Pennsylvania nursing homes from Oak Health & Rehabilitation Centers Inc. this year, it increased health insurance deductibles from $500 for an individual and $1,000 for a family to $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for families, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania said.

An employee at Statesman Nursing & Rehabilitation of Middletown, Bucks County, also now operated by Saber, also said biweekly contributions for health insurance had soared from nothing to more than $500 under a contract with a different union, Local 1360 of the United Food and Commercial Workers.