September 26, 2023 – West Bend, Wi – About 30 people attended a meeting Monday, September 25, 2023, to hear updates on the future of the Samaritan Home, 531 E. Washington Street, in West Bend, WI.
It was April 13, 2023, when the county board voted 13-8 to sell the Samaritan Home, despite a vocal segment of the community that was opposed to the effort.
“We were told today that the county has a letter of intent from a prospective buyer,” said Samaritan resident Bill Koch. “The buyer is not from the state of Wisconsin but they’re in Kentucky and they expect to sign an official agreement by October.”
Koch said the terms of the agreement were not divulged.
While there were residents in attendance, Koch said the numbers were pretty small. He said they were only notified over the weekend by a poster hanging in the elevator.
“There was another meeting with staff before our meeting,” said Koch. “Basically, they heard the same thing, but I understand theirs had a little bit more to do with wages.”
Questioned about the reaction to the announcement, Koch said, “I think everybody is suspicious of what’s going to happen here. The letter of intent means nothing. There’s no money that changes hands; all it is, is a talking point.
“The county executive wouldn’t admit that this could fall through. He told everybody in meeting that this was the best thing that ever happened with the potential sale of Samaritan.”
Early indications are the buyer is Trilogy Health Services, LLC; the company is based in Kentucky and already has a footprint in Wisconsin with a facility in Sun Prairie, by Madison, and another in Waunakee.
Calls have been placed to Trilogy Health Services, LLC. More information will be posted when details become available.
Click HERE to look at Trilogy job openings and pay scale
Several Washington County Supervisors were contacted about the letter of intent and the possible sale. None of the supervisors said they’ve heard any updates.
Questioned whether details were shared on the future of the building, Koch pointed to a 100-page document regarding a plan to build a $65 million county campus.Washington_County_Master_Plan_Report
“Josh wants to have everything on the north side of Highway 33 and these buildings, including the ADRC, would be torn down,” said Koch. “The last time he said three to five years for the ADRC and two years for the Samaritan.
“I asked what he was going to do with the land, and he said ‘sell it’ but that wasn’t was he said today. He indicated he didn’t know what he was going to do with the land, and how soon these things are going to happen.”
Koch said it appears, if this deal goes through, the new owners would build a facility either within the city limits or four miles outside of the city.
There is a parcel off 18th Avenue just south of Paradise in the corporate center that may be a possible location for a new facility.
Koch said some other residents brought up how they were not pleased with the current care they were receiving. “It’s just not very good,” he said.
“We were told the new owners would hire their own staff.”
The final transaction, according to Koch, is expected within the next 30 to 60 days. “I got the impression that some kind of paper was going to be signed by the end of October. And transition would play taking place sometime next year,” he said.
This is a working story and more information will be posted when details become available.
On a history note: Below is the article from April 13, 2023, detailing the meeting where the county board voted to sell the Samaritan.
West Bend, WI – After returning from a lengthy closed session around 11:30 p.m. the Washington Co. Board voted 13-8 to sell the Samaritan Home.
Supervisor Brian Krebs made the motion which was seconded by Supervisor James Burg.
There was a noticeable gasp from people sitting in the gallery.
Supervisor Mike Schwab said, “I heard a sign of distain from the gallery, and we made this motion because we believe it is in the best interest of the community, not only in the short term but also in the long term. I believe that you will find that to be true if you have the patience to listen and learn and see the final result.
“As was mentioned before a lot of research went into this and as it was presented, we believe, I believe this is the best option forward not just for the county, but also for the residence and the employees, what we have if this sale moves forward, and I would encourage my colleagues to support it.”
Supervisor Krebs added a note indicating the county executive was to report to the executive committee updates on the sale.
Supervisor Denis Kelling said he would support the resolution to sell the Samaritan. “I do believe it will take care of everyone in this room and across the street. You are our obligation, and we will take care of you and I don’t like when people have been using scare tactics against you saying you’re going to end up on the street. Legally that’s not possible and morally I would not stand for it. Everybody here should know you will have a place, you will always have a place. Nobody is going anywhere, that’s my promise. Don’t listen to the naysayers. You have a home here and we will take care of you. That is my sincere promise.”
Supervisor Linda Gurath thanked everyone for their support. “I also want you to know the background info on companies interested in purchasing is very positive in how they operate their businesses. I just want you to feel at ease and it will be companies that provide quality care so don’t worry too much about this.”
Those voting to save the Samaritan included supervisors Lois Krueger-Gundrum, Pam Konrath, Linda Gurath, Jeff Millikin, Chris Bossert, Robert Hartwig, Joseph Vespalec and Marietta Bailey.
Those voting to sell the Samaritan included Jodi Schulteis, Carroll Merry, James Burg, Tony Thoma, Doug Newman, Brian Krebs, Brian Gallitz, Kenneth Mikulec, William Symicek, Jeff Schleif, Mike Schwab, Denis Kelling, and John Schodron.
Senior citizens from the Samaritan Home packed the Washington County Board room as supervisors weighed the future of the Samaritan Health Center at its April 12, 2023, meeting. Residents were wheeled into the board room as other supporters held “Save Our Samaritan’ signs.
There were also two overflow rooms to handle more people who supported the Samaritan.
At issue was whether the county should be in the senior care business; should it continue to invest in senior care even though, it is said to be a service “not mandated by the state.” As of the November 29, 2022 the Ad Hoc Committee agenda read, “Washington County agenda to discuss “renovation, demolition, closure” of Samaritan Home.
On Wednesday evening after a lengthy closed session the board voted 13 – 8 to sell the Samaritan.
The initial meeting began with a statement by Supervisor Linda Gurath who chaired the Ad Hoc Committee and called out County Board Chairman Jeff Schleif.
“On March 1, I sat in on a meeting of the Samaritan Ad Hoc Committee. This committee continues to dig into all the details surrounding the possibilities moving forward. There have been many very good discussions, which has been good. What was not good, in my opinion is the dissemination of information, which is not completely accurate. This has served to make me untrustworthy of some of the findings. So that’s the quote from the report to publicly falsely accuse the Ad Hoc Committee like this, in my opinion, is extremely low and unprofessional. Usually, when a chair sets up an Ad Hoc Committee, that chair is supportive of the committee. Our chair has been anything but supportive as evidenced in his monthly report. If he had a legitimate concern, he should have addressed it privately. Chairman Schleif, please remove that paragraph from the record,” said Supervisor Gurath.
Schleif responded by saying he would remove the paragraph. “But I will remind you that we had many conversations, and your committee was slanted right from the start. So, I stand by my feeling, and we’ll move on.”
Then Supervisor Lois Gundrum chimed in. “There have been many times in the past and supervisors in public comment have said words they regret. But by the end of the meeting, most of the supervisors in fact, all of them have reached out to one another and expressed their regret for saying things in the heat of the moment. We do that because we respect one another. But this is so different from that, Mr. Chairman, this was thought about, put in writing, and made part of a public record to say that, in your opinion, there was an intentional act to mislead the public with inaccurate information is a disrespect to the Ad Hoc Committee, the members of the staff and the professionals who worked on this. I’m thanking you that you’re going to remove that paragraph from your report and I think that is the very least you can do but an apology is certainly needed,” said Gundrum.
With that, Schleif apologized. “In that case, I apologize. Perhaps I was out of line. But my feelings are still my feelings.”
There was about an hours-worth of presentation on studies, data, money, federal funding … or the lack thereof, facility capacity, beds, staffing and more on staffing.
According to the agenda, “The Board needs to determine whether county government is better suited to manage this care or is the private sector better equipped. If the Board concludes county government run long term care is best, then either remodeling or rebuilding must be the conclusion. If the Board concludes the private sector is more appropriate, then a sale of Samaritan is the option to be pursued.”
The county executive made a final statement, “The county is capable of staying in the business but the model has to change.”
The board moved into closed session around 9 p.m.
This is a working story and more information will be posted when details become available.
Click HERE to contact your County Supervisor.