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Aperion Care

Aperion Care is at 3301 N. Calumet Ave. in Valparaiso.

VALPARAISO — A Valparaiso nursing home plans to shut down in the next few months.

Aperion Care Valparaiso, 331 N. Calumet Ave., will close once the last of its nearly 70 residents are discharged, according to Fred Frankel, general counsel for Aperion Care.

"We're working with residents and their families to get them placed in other nursing homes in the area of their choosing," he said, adding that the decision to close was "not something that comes lightly."

He said the company made the "business" decision because of the nursing home's low census. The facility has 150 certified beds.

He said the "less than 100" full-time staffers will be offered jobs at other Aperion Care facilities or given help to find employment elsewhere.

Aperion Care Valparaiso is a for-profit nursing home owned by Major Hospital, a city-owned hospital in Shelbyville, Indiana, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The nonprofit Porter County Council of Church Women had operated the facility, formerly known as the Whispering Pines Health Care Center, from its opening in 1964 until September 2014.

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Frankel said Aperion Care stepped in when the facility was "basically on the verge of being shut down by the state" after having hired managers "who weren't very reputable."

He said the company "cleared up" state and federal citations but couldn't turn things around.

In July 2017, Aperion Care Valparaiso paid a $3,000 state fine, according to the State Department of Health, and a $31,500 federal penalty, according to the Medicare agency

The nursing home lost its tax exemption in September 2016 after an effort by Porter County to verify those exemptions.

Aperion Care Valparaiso has a one star (out of five) overall rating on Medicare's nursing home rating system.

Medicare also gave the facility one star for its health inspection history with the most recent inspection, which garnered 21 citations, having the highest level of harm: "immediate jeopardy to health and safety."

Aperion Care also has Northwest Indiana locations in Gary, Michigan City and DeMotte, which all also have one-star ratings from Medicare. The Michigan City nursing home is considered a Special Focus Facility, meaning it is subject to "more frequent inspections, escalating penalties and potential termination from Medicare and Medicaid."

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Health Reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.