The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a plan to keep open a long-term care facility in Burlingame, saving more than 200 jobs and preserving the home of more than 160 disabled patients.
The board voted unanimously to enter an agreement with Los Angeles-based Brius Healthcare Company to take over operations at Burlingame Long-Term Care, an assisted-living facility that is currently managed by the San Mateo County Health System.
In February, the board voted to close the facility, citing an unsafe building that no longer met seismic and safety standards for a publicly run medical facility.
Tuesday's agreement reverses that process and puts in place a clear path to keeping the home open and operating.
"It's a good day for the employees, the residents, the county and the community," Brius spokesman Alain Kuppermann said Tuesday afternoon. "Just a couple of months ago, this facility was slated to be closed," he said.
As part of the agreement, Brius will purchase the long-term care facility building and commit to invest a minimum of $3.5 million in upgrades, according to the Health System.
The patients who still reside at the facility will be allowed to stay, and those who have relocated since the board's decision in February will have the option to move back.
The majority of the nurses and staff that currently work at the facility will be offered jobs by Brius, Kuppermann said. Supervisor Carole Groom said the agreement was "the best possible situation" that the county, the private owners, patients and staff could envision.
"Those patients who are there can now stay, and the necessary renovations and safety improvements will be made over the next couple of years," Groom said.
Brius -- which owns and operates as many as 60 healthcare facilities throughout the state -- will initially manage the facility under the direction of county officials at the San Mateo Medical Center, and operate under that hospital's license.
Over the next three years, the county hopes to transition full operation of the facility to Brius, which will then continue to manage it as an independent nursing home.
"The county will save some money, and exit a business that has been difficult in a building that has been difficult," Groom said.
Kuppermann said Brius expects to take an initial financial loss in assuming management of Burlingame Long-Term Care, but that the company's owner, Shlomo Rechnitz, saw an opportunity to give back to society and improve the lives of the patients who call the facility home.
"It's a perfect example of the private sector and the public sector working together," Kuppermann said. "We really hope to turn this facility around," he said.
-- Bay City News