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Hola es su centro para mantenerse informado, compartir ideas y conectarse con recursos. (Hola is your hub to stay informed, share ideas, and connect with resources in northern Illinois.)

Future of DeKalb County nursing remains uncertain as state review board questions buyer’s record on quality of care


The DeKalb County Board voted to sell the county-run nursing home last year, but a state review board has postponed taking a final decision on approving the sale as it asks questions about the buyer’s commitment to quality of care.

DeKalb County Board Chair Suzanne Willis said, if the Illinois Health Facilities and Review Board doesn’t approve the sale of the Dekalb County Rehab and Nursing Center, the county board may have to reconsider a motion for a referendum.

“Particularly, if the sale doesn't go through,” she said. “Yeah, I think that's one of the things that we would have to do.”


Last year a county board vote on whether to bring the question of the future of the home to voters failed in a tie vote.

Following that, the board voted to sell the nursing home to Illuminate, LLC and strongly opposed the other bidder Saba Healthcare, whose affiliated facilities overall rating is below average. Since then, both companies have partnered together to purchase the nursing home under the name DeKalb Healthcare Holdings LLC.

Illinois Health Facilities and Review Board

The Illinois Health Facilities and Review Board voted on July 27 to defer the vote on the sale to October 3. The board’s approval is required in order for it to issue the facility a certificate of need. This approval is mandated since the nursing home is changing ownership from publicly owned to the private sector.

During the board hearing, some members of the review board said they were concerned about violations issued to the buyers and called for more information on their quality improvement plans for their existing facilities.

Among them was board member Ryan Lee, who is also a former official at the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“They are setting goals, but these deficiencies come up every year,” she said, according to transcripts of the meeting provided to WNIJ.

“So, what is the owners’ involvement of ensuring quality is being monitored and that is being sustained?”

The buyers’ attorney in response said that improvement plans are in place but were not available to present to the board at that time.

The board called for more information on the quality insurance plans and for the buyers to be present in person for questioning.

The owners listed include Moshe Blonder, Aaron Singer, both of Saba Healthcare, and Avi Zuckerman, according to the Daily Chronicle.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, supporters of the nursing home pleaded with the board to vote against a sale.

According to meeting transcripts, DeKalb County resident Madeline Nelson said, “In the face of substantial opposition from the DeKalb County community in hearings and letters, numerous errors in compliance with standard procedures, concerns regarding the quality of care provided in homes owned by the applicants, I’d ask the IDPH board to deny the certificate of need on the facts of the project.”

In the interim, the DeKalb County Chair said the nursing homes’ finances are steadily improving compared to last year, but not enough.

“Instead of losing half a million dollars per month,” she said, “it's more like a quarter of a million or $200,000,” Willis said.

According to a report in the Daily Chronicle, as of August, if the sale of the nursing home hasn’t been finalized the buyers would cover the losses the county has accrued for up to $200,000.

WNIJ reached out to Brian Gregory, the DeKalb County Administrator, for confirmation, but he was not available for comment.

A Chicago native, Maria earned a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield . Maria is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America. RFA is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. It is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, a nonprofit journalism organization. Un residente nativo de Chicago, Maria se graduó de University of Illinois Springfield con una licenciatura superior en periodismo de gobierno.