Information for Creditors of California-Nevada Methodist Homes
Case Number 21-40363 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California
DEBTOR RUNS TWO RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES
Despite the Debtor’s company name, the Debtor operates solely in California. California-Nevada Methodist Homes (“CNMH”) runs two continuing care retirement communities, also known as CCRCs. The two communities are Lake Park in Oakland, California and Forest Hill in Pacific Grove, California. The Debtor also operates a corporate office in Oakland.
CNMH originally opened in 1954 and it has been in continuous operation since then. CNMH provides multiple levels of care to residents, which is designed to allow residents to stay among the same neighbors and friends as they age and their needs grow. CCRCs like CNMH offer four levels of care including independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation.
CNMH employs just over 220 Californians, including some members of the SEIU Local 2015 union. It is also charged with the care of 225 residents. In its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, CNMH has stated its hope that it will be able to continue providing an extremely high standard of care for those residents. To that end, CNMH has asked the bankruptcy court for some relief, including the ability to use its cash throughout the bankruptcy case and the ability to continue paying its employees. This relief, which is typically granted to businesses in Chapter 11 cases, will allow CNMH to continue operating without a hitch while it restructures.
CNMH PLANS TO REORGANIZE
So many companies are filing for bankruptcy due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While CNMH acknowledged the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its bottom line, it also admitted that CNMH’s financial challenges have been growing for years. Among other things, CNMH cites “changing attitudes of seniors towards institutional care, the difficulty that smaller CCRCs like CNMH have in achieving ‘economies of scale’ from purchasing and pricing standpoints, [and] direct competition from nearby communities” as contributing to their need to file for bankruptcy protection.
Despite their compounding problems, which forced them to file for bankruptcy, CNMH has indicated that it plans to reorganize and keep both locations running through and after bankruptcy. In many ways, this case appears to be somewhat standard. A company in financial trouble hopes to reorganize its debt obligations and come out of the bankruptcy process operational and more profitable than before.
An important milestone in the case is coming on April 19th at 2:30pm pacific, when the Debtor’s representative is scheduled to appear by telephone at a 341 meeting of creditors. Creditors are allowed to attend this meeting personally or through attorneys and ask questions about the Debtor’s plans to exit bankruptcy and repay creditors.
CREDITORS WILL HAVE TO JOCKEY FOR POSITION
In its preliminary filings, CNMH has disclosed that it has approximately $30.2 million in secured debt and $366,000 in deferred taxes that it will need to repay. While CNMH has not yet given a number for the amount of its unsecured debt, all of the secured and priority tax debt will likely be in line before any unsecured creditor for payment.
The fact that the Debtor is a non-profit entity operating retirement communities is also a consideration in this case. This will likely trigger the appointment of a patient care ombudsman, who will enter the bankruptcy case in order to ensure that the residents are properly cared for by the Debtor. Concerned families will be following the proceedings for the same reason. Also, community members will want to ensure that these important facilities are able to stay open to care for elder Californians.
These issues are important to keep in mind and make the case somewhat more complex. Unsecured creditors do not need to lose hope, though. CNMH hopes to reorganize and maintain good, ongoing relationships with trade creditors. Particularly with organization and competent representation, unsecured creditors could see a positive outcome from this bankruptcy case.
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