Miller’s Well being Techniques, Highgate/Aurora prolong negotiations for lease switch of nursing residence portfolio

Miller’s Health Systems, based in Warsaw, Indiana, will continue to operate qualified care facilities owned by Highgate Capital Investments/Aurora Health Network for the foreseeable future due to the extended deadline for lease transfer or renewal.

It’s unclear how long this extension will last, as first reported by local news source WANE15.

Miller’s has been in discussions with Highgate Capital Investments/Aurora Health Network, the owners of the facilities, about a new or transferred lease, Miller’s CEO Patrick Boyle said in a statement Thursday.

The company originally announced in May that it would be stepping back from leases at eight Miller’s Merry Manor locations in the state, with current leases ending June 30 and acquiring a new operator July 1.

That’s according to WARN notices sent to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, although letters received from WANE15 showed the number of properties in the same situation was closer to 19.

Highgate Capital Investments/Aurora Health Network is expected to make its final decision within the next few weeks, Boyle added.

“The July 1 deadline for the landlord to enter into a new lease with Miller’s or another operator will be pushed back if negotiations continue, and facility staff will continue with day-to-day operations as usual,” Boyle said in the statement.

Neither Miller’s Health Systems nor Highgate/Aurora responded to additional inquiries from Skilled Nursing News on Friday.

Miller’s Health Systems has been an integral part of long-term care in Indiana since 1964 and continues to operate a handful of nursing homes statewide, as well as a therapy business and partnership with a home health care company.

Nearly 700 workers would no longer be employed by the company, Miller said in his filings with the state.

Boyle noted in the company’s statement that Highgate Capital Investments/Aurora Health Network would likely rehire Miller’s employees to work at the facilities.

In February 2022, Highgate and Aurora inked a $3.2 billion deal to acquire the wellness infrastructure portfolio of DigitalBridge (NYSE: DBRG), formerly known as Colony Capital. This portfolio included 83 SNFs and other healthcare assets.

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