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State takes over management of two nursing homes in financial straits

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The state of Minnesota has seized control of two nursing homes whose out-of-state owner, racked with financial difficulties, could no longer manage them.

In a Friday news release, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced that it used its emergency powers to assume management of the Faribault Care Center and Owatonna Care Center, two assisted living facilities with about 90 residents between them.

Health officials stepped in last week when they learned that the owner – Maryland-based Omega Health Care Investors – and the Utah-based property management company that oversees the facilities "were no longer going to be able to care for residents and provide the basic necessities."

An official with one of the companies told MDH they were having "cash-flow difficulties," a problem that could have threatened services for the residents.

The well being of the nursing homes' 130 employees was also at risk, but the Health Department says the takeover will assure that employees are paid, and that residents receive quality care.

MDH has called in the Minnesota and Wisconsin chapter of Volunteers of America, a non-profit charitable organization, to handle management of the homes while they're under the state's watch.

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