Enquirer Herald

Families worry about elder care after York Agape sale

The sale of Agape Senior’s assisted living and nursing care centers in York and Rock Hill has some families worried about how they’ll pay for care.

The York assisted living center was one of six centers sold Friday to FC Midlands, a Delaware investment company, said Joe Nester, director of Internet marketing at the corporate office of Agape Senior in Columbia. Agape’s Rock Hill assisted living and nursing care facilities will be among a second and third tier of sales to the same company, Nester said.

Nester said FC Midlands has hired Frontier Management, based in Portland, Ore., to manage the elder care centers after its purchase.

At least 50 people met with a Frontier representative at the York center on Ross Cannon Street last week. Some said they were concerned about their ability to continue to pay for care, because Agape Assisted Living subsidizes some residents through the Agape Senior Foundation.

Frontier, which manages elder care facilities in eight states, could not be reached for comment.

Gail Garrison of York, who said she moved her 85-year-old mother to the Agape assisted living center in York in late July, said she expects to have to move her mother out by Sept. 1 without the financial support of the foundation.

“There’s a lot of people squalling,” Garrison said, referring to the loss of the foundation. “It’s heartbreaking, nerve wracking, a lot of stress.”

Garrison said she paid a nonrefundable $5,000 to the Agape Senior Foundation to get her mother a room at the York Agape. She said she paid an additional $6,600 to cover the period from July 19 to Sept. 1.

Under the arrangement with Agape, Garrison said, she signed a contract to keep her mother at the center for a year and to pay the full cost of that period.

“If you run out of money after that, the foundation will pick up the money and your parents don’t have to leave,” she said. “Now there’s no foundation and my mother’s got to be out by Sept. 1 and we just found this out.”

Garrison said the family can’t afford to keep her mother at the center without the support of the foundation. “There is no foundation to hold her there,” she said. “When she runs out of money, she’s got to move anyway.”

Nester said he was unable to answer questions about the foundation. An Agape official who deals with the foundation could not be reached Monday.

Nester said Friday’s sale of the York center also included assisted living centers in Conway, Kathwood, Laurens, Lexington and West Columbia.

He said the second tier of sales, expected to close in two or three weeks, will include the Rock Hill assisted living center and centers in Garden City and Harbison.

A third tier of sales, Nester said, will include Agape Senior’s post acute care center in Rock Hill and other skilled care centers. Nester did not have an expected date for the sale of that part of the business.

CEO Scott Middleton founded Agape Senior in 1999 with the goal of delivering a better system of health care for seniors, according to the company.

According to a statement from Agape, the sale of its assisted living and skilled nursing facilities “paves the way for the companies to redefine their role in senior health care, continuing their forward momentum.”

In addition to the elder care centers, Agape provides services such as physicians care, pharmacy, hospice and therapy in more than 100 non-Agape residential care facilities in South Carolina. Those services are not being sold, Nester said.

Agape Hospice and ambulance services will continue to carry the Agape name, according to the statement. However, many of its companies will be rebranded as LTC Health Solutions.

According the statement, physicians care, pharmacy, medical equipment, therapy, and home care services will be managed under the new network name.

Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077