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St. Lawrence Rehab, nursing homes to be sold

St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center and its associated nursing homes and assisted living facilities are up for sale.LEA KAHN/STAFF
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St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center and its associated nursing homes and assisted living facilities are up for sale.LEA KAHN/STAFF

The St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center and its associated nursing and assisted living facilities have been put on the block for sale – but none of the facilities will be closed, according to Morris Hall/St. Lawrence officials.

The residents will not be displaced, and all staff and leadership will remain in place, said Darlene Hanley, the president and chief executive officer of Morris Hall/St. Lawrence Inc. The process can take up to one year to complete, and it is expected to be a seamless transition of ownership when it occurs, she said.

The decision to sell the St. Lawrence Rehabilitation campus is the result of the severe financial strains that have grown out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanley said. It has brought “enormous burdens” to the post-acute care industry, adding to the difficulties already facing providers such as St. Lawrence and Morris Hall, she said.

“The healthcare environment has changed and is no longer conducive to smaller, independent facilities,” Hanley said.

So after much thoughtful consideration and the realization that it cannot survive financially as a stand-alone facility, the decision was made to seek qualified buyers for the entire campus, she said.

The St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center campus straddles both sides of Route 206, at the corner of Lawrenceville-Pennington Road and the corner of Franklin Corner Road. Morris Hall/ St. Lawrence Inc. employs about 500 people.

The main campus on Route 206 consists of the St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center, St. Mary’s Assisted & Residential Living, and St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing. The Morris Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing facility is located on Franklin Corner Road.

Morris Hall/St. Lawrence Inc. officials have arranged for consultant David Kostinas to handle the process, she said. A request for offers was mailed to more than 20 potential buyers on Oct. 1, ranging from healthcare systems to long-term care providers.

“Mr. Kostinas, who has worked with us for more than 30 years, understands our desire to attract a buyer that will continue our mission. We are seeking a buyer with the same high caliber reputation and commitment to the community (as Morris Hall/St. Lawrence Inc.),” she said.

Kostinas worked with Morris Hall/St. Lawrence Inc. to expand to St. Mary’s Assisted & Residential Living, St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing and the Morris Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing facility.

Kostinas indicated that the market for healthcare purchases, including long-term care facilities, is “very favorable,” Hanley said. Morris Hall/St. Lawrence Inc. has performed well on surveys, and has a stellar reputation, she said.

The St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, is a 116-bed, not-for-profit physical rehabilitation hospital offering an array of services and specialized programs on an in-patient and out-patient basis, according to its website at www.slrc.org.

The rehabilitation hospital offers physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, therapeutic recreation, and social and psychological services. There are specialized programs for stroke, brain injury, neurologic disorders, amputees, Parkinsonism, and vestibular/balance rehabilitation.

Morris Hall/St. Lawrence Inc. expanded its offerings to include St. Mary’s Assisted & Residential Living, St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing Center and Morris Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing.

Morris Hall was established in 1904 and has operated under the sponsorship of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, officials said. Although it is open to all persons, it has maintained a Catholic identity in both its policies and practices.

Morris Hall had its beginnings in a bequest to the Diocese of Trenton from Col. Daniel Morris in 1898. He stipulated that the money should be used to construct St. Michael’s Children’s Home and Morris Hall Home for the Aged.

Morris Hall Home for the Aged began as a boarding home for the elderly in 1904. Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel was added in 1910, and served as the parish church for Lawrence Township until 1938, when the Church of St. Ann was built on Lawrence Road in the Eldridge Park neighborhood.

Morris Hall contained a convent for the retired Sisters of St. Francis, who ran the facility until 1981. The residents helped in the kitchen and worked on the surrounding farm in its earliest days.

Morris Hall underwent a major renovation project in 1994 that resulted in the creation of the 100-bed St. Mary’s Assisted & Residential Living, and the 120-bed St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing Center on the main campus.

Across Route 206 on Franklin Corner Road, Morris Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing opened in 2015. It consists of six individual houses the each accommodates 10 residents.

The Diocese of Trenton acknowledged the challenges facing Morris Hall/St. Lawrence Inc.,. and stated that it was “confident” that the buyer would share the values and commitment to service to the Greater Mercer area.

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