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St. Peter transfers nursing home ownership

Free Press - 12/19/2018

Dec. 19--ST. PETER -- Benedictine Health Systems now owns the nursing home facility it had been leasing from the city of St. Peter for years.

The City Council finalized the ownership transfer for Benedictine Living Community at 1907 Klein St. last week. The move also terminated the old lease for the property and entered into a new one for the land where the building sits.

"This is an exciting, big step for us to be able to take ownership of the building," said Teresa Hildebrandt, campus administrator and CEO for Benedictine Living Community in St. Peter.

She said Benedictine Health Systems also owns Benedictine Court, a 46-unit senior apartment building connected to the nursing home -- itself connected to River's Edge Hospital. Last week's acquisition of the nursing home portion of the facility coincides with the health system obtaining Heritage Meadows, a 28-unit senior housing community nearby at 1302 W. Traverse Road, from the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society.

Having all three facilities under one umbrella should make it easier to connect residents to appropriate levels of care, Hildebrandt said. She didn't expect the ownership transfer to have much of an impact on operations and credited the city for being a good partner through the years.

"The city has always been supportive of the work we do and has been very easy to work with," she said.

St. Peter leased the nursing home to Benedictine after helping finance the facility's construction in 2006. Benedictine Health Center opened in early 2007, followed by Benedictine Court's opening in 2011. The sale agreement was designed to cover the city's debts and expenses associated with the transaction.

The City Council in the fall granted approval for the city of Bethel to issue $20 million worth of bonding to be used for Benedictine's purchase of the nursing home, assisted living facility and Heritage Meadows.

City Administrator Todd Prafke, speaking at the Dec. 10 meeting, said the agreement between city leaders in the 2000s and the health system worked as intended.

"This is something that you undertook many years ago to ensure that there would be an appropriate number of nursing home beds within your community," he said.

Council member Stephen Grams, serving on Benedictine's board as a council liaison, lauded the health organization in remarks immediately before the council approved the sale.

"St. Peter and Nicollet County (are) very fortunate to have this facility," he said. "It's truly a remarkable place."

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArolaMFP.

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(c)2018 The Free Press (Mankato, Minn.)

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