Sister Kathleen Popko of the Sisters of Providence with Mother Mark Louis Randall.
LENOX, Mass. — Providence Care Center of Lenox is under new ownership.
The Sisters of Providence Health System sold the Pittsfield Road facility to the Carmelite Sisters. The facility will retain its staffing and administration in the $5 million to $6 million deal but will be renamed Mount Carmel Care Center.
"We're very excited about it because it allows us to continue the really good work that we've been doing. We do look toward the future as far as expanding services," said David LaPlante, administrator for the 69-bed facility. "It allows us to have the resources, frankly, that we need. The resources to call on and keep moving forward."
The facility provides a bridge between being released from the hospital and going home as well as long-term care. LaPlante said the Carmelite's expertise in long-term care will help the center transition with the changing health-care industry.
"There are two significant challenges moving forward. One is the regulatory — it goes without saying that long-term care is probably one of the most regulated industries in the nation. It just becomes more and more of a challenge daily. There are more and more regulations coming out that require us to comply to ensure the quality care that is expected from our patients, residents and their families," LaPlante said. "The other restraints, quite frankly, are financial."
For the Sisters of Providence, the transition is one it has considered for two years as the organization looked to improve on the array of services it provides.
"We took a look at all of our facilities two years ago through a process we called strategically positioning. We really wanted to make sure the future of each one of our ministries are secure," said Daniel Moan, president of Sisters of Providence Health Systems. "We looked for a system that specializes in skilled nursing and the Carmelite Sisters certainly filled that requirement and plus keeping the institution Catholic was important to us."
The process identified only the Lenox facility as one the Sisters of Providence wanted to sell because of the geography — Lenox is too far from the other facilities. The Sisters of Providence Healthcare System operates Mercy Medical Center in Springfield and Providence Behavioral Health Hospital and Brightside social services, both in Holyoke, along with other services in the Springfield area.
Moan said Monday's announcement was really a day of "mixed emotions" because while it is difficult for the organization to give up the work being done here, officials were happy they found a Catholic organization with the right skills and resources to continue operating it.
Daniel Moan, president of the Sisters of Providence Health Systems, said the money from the sale will go toward other programs the organization offers.
"It's an important facility. It provides wonderful service and that's going to continue. That to me is the most important aspect of this transition," Moan said. "The other thing is that I truly believe that it is a great thing to have a Catholic health-care option for this community and this ensures that it will be available for the residents."
The Sisters of Providence purchased the facility in 1995. When representatives from the Carmelite Sisters, headquartered in Germantown, N.Y., toured it last August, they could not refuse the chance to take it over.
"I think it was love at first sight for the council and I," said Superior General Mother Mark Louis Randall of the Carmelite Sisters. "How could you walk away from an opportunity like this? We couldn't."
The Carmelite Sisters operate 23 nursing homes in nine states and Ireland, according to the organization's website.
Sister Kathleen Popko, president of the Sisters of Providence, said the most difficult decision was finding a buyer with the characteristics the organization was looking for to continue the facility.
"I was delighted when I heard the Carmelite Sisters were interested," Popko said, adding that she was familiar with other services the sisters provide. "We are glad to entrust this facility to your care."