The largest nursing home chain in Florida is rebranding.
On its website, Consular Health Care Services no longer lists any long-term care facilities in the state.
In the wake of a bankruptcy and a slew of bad press over the past few years, the privately owned chain — the nation’s sixth largest elderly care company — has quietly divided its Florida facilities into three separate companies. It appears that the three are still belonging to the consulate.
Neither the consulate nor the new companies responded to multiple requests for comment. In calls made to the consulate headquarters to reach the spokesperson, staff directed Tampa Bay Times For someone denied work in the company.
“Four different companies stormed the consulate,” said a receptionist at the consulate health care office in Georgia. “Anything outside of Florida is still considered a consulate. Anything within Florida has been split between Radiant, Independence, and NSPIRE. But we are still the corporate office for any of those companies.”
Several nursing homes at the Consulate in Florida began changing their individual names as well, erasing any association with the chain.
Critics say this reorganization leaves consumers in the dark.
“If you’re in the Google Consulate, you have 20 years of bad journalism,” said Bill Dean, a former Miami-Dade attorney general who now specializes in nursing home litigation. “But no one will ever know that the new ‘Happy Nursing Home LLC’ is actually the same people who work at the Consulate. They’re the same employees, the same leadership – but now they’re under a new, renamed name.”
With new company names and opaque relationships, he said, consumers looking for a nursing home in Florida may have a hard time figuring out the previous history of the facility or current ownership.
Family name and accessories
The consulate was popular in Florida even before the outbreak of the pandemic. By 2018, the for-profit company controlled one in nine nursing homes in Florida, the Naples Daily News reported, including 13 in Tampa Bay.
Its facilities were no stranger to controversy.
In January 2018, the government’s Health Care Administration Agency threatened to revoke 53 of the 77 nursing home licenses at the consulate in Florida due to poor patient care and safety violations. Instead, the agency reached a settlement that put eight of the consulate homes on a two-year improvement plan, including three in the Tampa Bay area.
The giant chain was one of five elderly care companies that Congress investigated over their handling of the coronavirus in 2020.
That same year, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a $256 million civil judgment against the consulate, ruling that the nursing homes currently owned by the company defrauded taxpayers by inflating bills to treat residents.
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Entities operating under the consulate filed for bankruptcy in March 2021. The chain, which at the time owned 140 facilities across the country, said it did not have the funds to pay the judgment.
Many large skilled nursing organizations, including the Consulate, have faced increased financial pressure as a direct result [of the pandemic],” Paul Rondell, the company’s bankruptcy restructuring officer, wrote in a court filing in September 2021. “And the state of Florida, where many of the consulate’s skilled nursing facilities are located, is among the hardest hit.”
The Justice Department and the filing of the lawsuit eventually agreed to settle a much smaller amount, leaving the Consulate liable for only $4.5 million in light of the company’s declaration of bankruptcy.
The filing for bankruptcy, and the uproar accompanying a high-profile federal lawsuit, may have contributed to the nursing home split at the Florida Health Consulate. But licensing documents and corporate filings indicate that the new owners of these facilities are associated with the company.
Using Florida Agency for Health Care Administration data, Tampa Bay Times Analyze all state long-term care facilities with licenses linked to the official Consulate Healthcare website in 2021.
The Times found that of the 77 homes for seniors with valid licenses, 76 were owned by LLCs that still list a Georgia consulate office as their mailing address. This was true even for facilities that recently changed their names to remove “Consulate Healthcare” from their addresses.
Postal addresses are an industrial shorthand for defining company ownership of the facility, according to the dean.
“When that address is in Georgia, I know it’s a consular facility,” he said.
Seven of these facilities are no longer listed on any company website; The rest was divided.
Health care facilities at the Consulate in Florida are now listed as being operated by one of three companies:
- Radiant Health Care Services
- The Raydiant Health Care Services website says the company has led the way in rehabilitative care in Florida since it “opened its doors in the Sunshine State in 2021.”
- An application to create the name “Raydiant Health Care” was submitted to the Corporate Division of the Florida Department of State in September 2021 by Charlene G. Johnson, attorney and director of licensing and certification at Consulate Healthcare. Johnson used her company’s official email at the Tabuk consulate.
- Several nursing homes in the Consulate have been renamed using the surname Raydiant. The Healthcare Consulate in Brandon, a Tampa Bay facility, is now Raydiant Health Care of Brandon. The nursing home experienced an early and deadly outbreak of the coronavirus at the same time that Congress was investigating health care at the consulate to deal with the pandemic. Twenty-two of its residents had died of COVID-19 by the time the state stopped publishing nursing home data in June 2021.
- Living Independence Centers
- The live Independence Centers website appears to have launched in early January.
- The name “Independence Living Centers” was registered with the corporate division in September 2021, the same month as Raydiant Health Care. John Slater, a former employee of the consulate, is the CEO of Independent Independence Centers, according to his voicemail. Slater signed the registration form. The limited liability company that owns the name, Josera LLC, was incorporated in July, with Johnson of Consulate again signing as authorized representative.
- All of its facilities were previously advertised as Consulate-operated homes. Many of them have been renamed.
- Sites include Tallahassee Living Center, formerly the Tallahassee Healthcare Consulate, which has a one-star rating on the federal database Care Compare, and is one of four Florida consulate homes currently listed as candidates for Medicare and Medicaid centers. A service program for “special focus facilities,” an assignment only for nursing homes facing potential forced closure due to a history of serious quality problems in care.
- Independence Living Centers is actively hiring for jobs at Florida facilities, including 92 in Tampa Bay. Its application portal redirects candidates to a page that says, “Healthcare Consulate Job Lists.”
- NSPIRE HEALTHCARE
- NSPIRE Healthcare has operated five facilities in South Florida for several years. It appears that these are not directly owned by the Consulate. Its current website was created in early 2021. In April, it announced the five nursing homes. But today, the company lists 27 properties, 22 of which were previously marketed as consulate-owned homes.
- The Times has contacted several NSPIRE facilities in an effort to reach a media contact for the company. A front desk employee at NSPIRE Health Care Sarasota — formerly the Health Care Consulate in Sarasota — said these consulate facilities had not been sold to a new company, but that the consulate had instead “rebranded it.” She said any of the Florida sites had different names – either Independence, Radiant or NSPIRE.
- Like the Independent Living Centers, the webpage displaying all open positions at NSPIRE facilities is labeled “Healthcare Consular Job Lists”.
Synergistic healthcare services
Recently new businesses related to the Consulate have appeared.
Calls made to the company’s Atlanta office number or the in-state office in Maitland are now forwarded to an automated message beginning with “Thank you for calling Synergy HCS.”
Synergy Health Care Services advertises itself as a consulting firm for major care operators, working “behind the scenes to provide solutions that allow providers to focus on what they do best, caring for patients and residents.” The company’s LinkedIn page was created in 2021.
All of its current listed employees – 20 – began their positions in December 2021 after long-term employment at the Consulate.
Chris Bryson, the former CEO of Consulate Healthcare, has a similar role at Synergy.
Syngery is actively recruiting. All open positions are based in the address of the long-standing Consular Operations in Maitland.
However, at first, it wasn’t clear if there was a Synergy website.
Sarah Katherine Wallen, corporate counsel at Synergy HCS and former attorney at Consulate Health Care, said on a phone call in which times Request someone connections for synergy.
took out times To Jennifer Trapp, Vice President of Brand Management for Synergy HCS and former Consulate spokesperson.
Trapp said Synergy is a separate company that contracts with the consulate to provide “back office” support.
“Other operating management companies have acquired buildings in Florida,” she said. “The company I work for, we contract with several different providers, including the consulate, that operate out of Florida.”
Trapp declined to name the company’s other clients, citing privacy reasons.
. said times You will have to contact the consulate press officer with questions about its Florida facilities or corporate structure.
In contact with the consular office in Atlanta to request contact information for a consular spokesperson, the receptionist said: times You must contact Trapp. “We just split up into four different companies and it’s kind of confusing,” said the front desk receptionist. “So I thought Jane Trapp would still take care of that.”
As far as she knew, she said, she was still answering the phone for the consulate.