Due Diligence’…….#268 ( 2007)

Colony Park now Country Villa Modesto

Colony Park now Country Villa Modesto

    2007,  Gary’s seventh year at Colony Park,  the 6:30 a.m. morning alarm giving notice of a new day beginning to be an adversary rather than a welcomed friend, discovering with his 66th year of earthly presence his inveterate avidity for Colony Park Nursing & Rehabilitation Center was beginning to wean.  A passing thought that age might have something to do with it but a new energizing contingency coming into focus, Colony Park and all 11 facilities making up Healthcare Management Corporation were chronicled for purchase.  The LLC bottom line showing a deficiency,  rumored it was not to any paucity of the CEO Arden Bennett,  but the corporation’s CFO (chief financial officer) persuading the board to purchase  additional facilities of which he was a major stockholder, the Watsonville facilities under state scrutiny for violations and operated at a loss.  The clamor of the unforeseen news soon wearing off, the only immediate difference was Brad Kikuta resuming his position as an acting Administrator and  engaging Gary to furtherance the cosmetic appearances to the building, including painting the exterior.   Gary purchasing a Wagner sprayer at Home Depot, being honest with Brad,  mentioning that he wasn’t the best at spray painting and not surprised when Brad,  although having never spray painted before, was willing work with him.   The team intact, Brad spray painting, Gary rolling and brushing the eaves, window frames and the sprayer inaccessible areas.

HealthCare Management CEO Arden Bennett who good-naturedly acknowledged his resemblance to Tattoo on TV’s Fantasy Island and “De plane, de plane”

Gary assigned another project, a detailed analysis of the building and all the plant, medical, safety and  office equipment, plus resident room beds and furnishings, basically a complete inventory of everything but the kitchen sink, all a requirement for the sale.  The process known as Due Diligence included a detailed account of the exact size and physical attributes of the buildings,  even to the point of separating carpeted area from the tiled and included opening the fiscal, employment,  state health and safety records for inspection .

Dennis Pankow

Thru the years Gary having been befriended by the owners of Johnson Rug Company, Dennis Pankow, his wife Sue and Daughter Kim,  at first employing their company to replace the tile in the resident’s room on a scheduled basis but because of the pending sale,   Brad wanting to finish all the remaining resident rooms.    Gary making a decision to purchasing the tile and do the installation himself.    Gary scheduling the event on mornings when Brad was available, the administrator never-failing to volunteer as a participant after the adhesive had cured and the tile was ready to laid.   Other improvement including removing the floor tile in business office and removing the age-old carpet in conference room which refused to come up without the use of a motorized carpet scraper that Dennis loaned at no charge.  All being replaced  with carpet squares,  the face lifting of Colony Park becoming a reality because of impending Due Diligence for the prospective sale Healthcare Management LLC.

Country Villa,  the largest privately owned procurer of nursing homes in the State, the Reissman family operation with over 50 facilities having purchased all the assets of Healthcare Management LLC except for the corporate office in Madera.  A curiosity rising among the department supervisors as to what changes the new company would bring.  During a meeting Brad assured all that the transition would be amenable and would remain as temporary administrator,  also disclosing that he was the only Healthcare Management corporate executive ask to remain,  adding he would be assuming responsibilities as vice president in charge of Country Villa’s Northern Region which including their newly acquired facilities.  Gary being informed his position as Environmental Service Director would no longer be envisioned as Country Villa contracted  commercial management for housekeeping,  janitorial and laundry services.   Brad ensuring all current environmental service department workers would retain their employment status and wage seniority as employees with the new company.  Gary’s position the only one that was amended, relieved of his management responsibilities, retaining his duty as maintenance supervisor and safety director,  once again to join the ranks of the hourly wage earners.  His maintenance assistant Ray transferred to the janitorial department to retain employment under the new contracted service company.


 With the new corporate management changes would be a certainty and it soon became apparent when 17 assertive healthcare professional advisors from Country Villa’s southern California Corporate office ascended on the new acquisition.   Brad as interim administrator was somewhat candor,  giving the department’s supervisors a briefing about the assets of the Country Villa and the upcoming restructuring  and improvements.   One of the first projects on the agenda concerning environmental services was a replacement of the co-generation HVAC system installed in the 90’s under the auspicious Tobbie Bigelones Valley Air in Fresno.  Gary having  maintained a good relationship with the Fresno company and their northern area service personnel John and Brandon, the two giving Colony Park service calls  priority, Gary was relieved when the HVAC contract for the new system was accorded to Valley Air.   Six weeks into the Country Villa acquisition,  Brad giving notice of another change,  the hiring of a new administrator,  but saying he would still maintain an office in the building fulfilling his positions as a Country Villa Vice President for Northern California.

Rashmi Birla Administrator

     The reality setting in,  Brad not hesitating to give the supervisors a heads-up on the new facility administrator starting in June.  The incoming administrator would be Rashmi Birla, with past experience as an administrator for Nexion Health in Bayview Texas and a prior administrator for Country Villa Westwood facility in Los Angeles.   Brad making a point that this lady was an Alpha,  “type A”  on the Jacob Goldsmith theory of personalities,  aggressive,  ambitious,  business like, a competitive and time conscious person.  She  was married with two sons,  her husband Rajnish, a physician,  having acquired a position with Kaiser Permanente in Modesto.  Colony Park having been a prior training facility for corporate administrators under the tutoring of Brad, the supervising staff somewhat use to being approached by a designated administrator, but at the same time having developed an aura of independence in decision-making with Brad traveling to fulfilling his corporate duties.  With the new administrators arrival the only immediate noticeable change was her time schedule, Brad as administrator would arrive around 7:00 a.m., Rashmi with two young children to ready in the morning, arriving after 8:00 for the department supervisors 9:00 morning meeting.

       The new corporate management with their southern California oversight representatives and their monthly appearance beginning to have an effect, not only on Gary but the other department supervisors.  Gary recognizing the difference between the diminutive Healthcare Management Corporation and the prodigious Country Villa,  jokingly associating that department supervisors when working for HealthCare Management might be deem as  ‘big fish in a little pond’  but with the Country Villa Corporation as,  ‘little fish in a big pond’.  The advent of improvements to the facility, the Valley Air contractors parking a large semi-trailer with two 100 ton mobile chillers for use as they proceeded to disassemble the old  absorption AC units, cooling tower and co-generation system,  installing a new 120 ton system.  With the new management came changes, Brads monthly department supervisor recognition buffet followed by a brief trip to McHenry Bowl was no more, so was the out-of-town retreats to formulate constructive suggestions for improvement and most noticeably the monthly grill cookout for the employee’s, now limited to a social services activity for the residence. With the changes Gary finding his job less challenging  finding himself no longer responsible for the bulk of environmental service departments.  The fall of 2008 was approaching a new enigma presented itself,  a hard decision was in the making,  maybe it was time to retirement, Gary visiting with Fran, the two agreeing.  Gary keeping Brad and Rashmi abreast of his and Fran’s conversation, but having no time frame in mind,  offering to remain as long as necessary for them to find and familiarize someone to fill his position.

    Gary’s first knowledge that someone had been hired was when summoned to the administrator’s office, Rashmi introducing Tony,  he was somewhat surprised Rashmi hadn’t invited him to sit in on any of the interviews but accepted the circumstance.  Tony appeared to in his late twenties or early thirties,  relating that he had worked in maintenance at an apartment complex, Gary asking some basic questions about his electrical and plumbing experience.  It was soon discovered this personable clean-cut looking replacement possessed  a pretentious semblance, with little or no experience confronting problem consonant to a healthcare facility, but hopefully he was quick learner. His first detriment  was having difficulty understanding the importance documentation, recording plant equipment inspections required by the state and the need for a building morning walk thru to grasp the obvious or potential problems for the day.  Raul, a Country Villa corporate building operations coordinator having completed an inspection of the Modesto facility approached Gary with a list of state code requirement that needed immediate updating.  Apparently Colony Park exempt from the updates, able to ‘grandfather in’ these technical violations.  The first being the absence of (GFI’s) ground fault interrupter receptacles in the break room, kitchen and 32 restrooms, the second,  replacing the non latching window screens and other minor breaches.

     Gary began to notice Tony’s work related initiative was being redirected toward several of the young CNA’s,  somewhat unsure of how to approach the situation as there was a lack of contention from them . It wasn’t long before Tony’s extracurricular activities became manifold with his mentioning a separation from his wife and a discovery of him sleeping in his car.  Rashmi apparently made aware of the situation from the nursing staff,  a reprimand was enhanced.   With all that was going on Gary coming to the conclusion it was time to give a retire date, then the unexpected happened.  Rashmi calling him into her office breaking the news,  Tony had given notice, having enlisted in the Army,  asking if he would remain until another person could be found .

Brad Kikuta – a Country Villa Vice President

      The interviewing process enfolded once again,  Both Brad and Rashmi interviewing for a maintenance person, but this time the position of Safety Director  no longer included.  A second new hire selected, Alex and like Tony had worked as a maintenance person in an apartment complex.  Gary extending his stay another month this time determined without fanfare, would bid a farewell to Country Villa, a clock no longer to dictate the start of his day.  He was less than 90 days into his retirement when he received the phone call.  He recognized the voice, it was Rashmi asking if he could return and resume his position, adding that Alex performance was unacceptable and she had just terminated his employment.  What could one say, they both knew the answer, you never say no to a friend in need,  his 6:30 a.m. alarm reset for the third time.

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