Ownership change stops paychecks for metro nursing home workers

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — Employees at five nursing facilities in the metro say they’re fuming mad.

The workforce at Fundamental Healthcare recently saw their company change owners. Employees say the former corporate owner, Benchmark Healthcare, didn’t pay the staff during its final two weeks of ownership.

It caught them by complete surprise. Workers at Harrisonville Healthcare showed up on Thursday, Sept. 26 to collect their paychecks — only to find the home’s previous owner, Benchmark Healthcare, had declared bankruptcy and a freeze has been placed on company banking.

That means no paychecks for employees who need them.

“It was a shock absolute shock and disbelief,” Harrisonville Healthcare employee Amanda Chastain said.

And it isn’t just paychecks these employees say they’re missing. Kevin Donovan, who runs the home’s kitchen, said he and others had entrusted Benchmark Healthcare to help them organize a Christmas savings fund. Now, they’re told that money is frozen in court too.

Benchmark Healthcare is based in Chesterfield, Mo., and this isn’t the first time they’ve been scrutinized. Missouri Case Net shows a backlog of records that stretches back to 2004, Involving charges ranging from medical malpractice to a wrongful death suit filed in 2012.

“There has been a transfer of operations from Benchmark to a new operator,” Anita Kepler, Harrisonville Healthcare administrator, said while reading from a statement.

That new company is Fundamental Healthcare, which is based in Maryland. Kepler manages Harrisonville Healthcare for that company, which acquired all 11 of Benchmark’s nursing homes and 1,500 employees.

Management at Harrisonville Healthcare read only from that prepared statement, and would not say when employees could expect to be paid in full.

News reports compiled by the staff of Attorney Steve Sanders from various news sources. Contact the Law Offices of Steve Sanders, L.C. if you need more information on this issue or other employment law matters such as worker’s compensation. Our firm works hard to make our community a better place one case at a time.

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