Senior advocate: Billionaire should see nursing home residents as people

Brius Healthcare’s Shlomo Rechnitz is facing more public criticism for his threat to shut down three nursing homes and evict more than 200 elderly and disabled residents in Humboldt County.

On October 6, John Heckel – a newspaper columnist and senior advocate – published a piece in the North Coast Journal that tells the story of some of the nursing homes’ residents. Heckel takes Rechnitz to task for his threat and calls on the public to step forward to assist the residents.

Here are a couple of excerpts from the column, entitled “Brius This, Seaview That.”

The resident of room No. 50 in the west wing of Seaview is named Alfred. He has been living in room No. 50 for two and a half years. Alfred has been married for 47 years. His wife lives in a local residential care facility. His required level of care exceeds what a residential facility can provide but he and his wife are still able to see each other once a week. Alfred is scared. He fears being out on the street and not being able to see his wife again.

Heckel then turns his attention to Rechnitz, whom he says has an estimated net worth of $2.4 billion. Rechnitz recently took out full-page advertisements in the local newspaper to try to deflect the public’s anger at his threatened mass evictions. Heckel writes:

The next time you see double-page ads written and signed by Brius, as if Brius were a real human being, question why there is not a real person, with real Humboldt County connections, taking responsibility for those claims. The next time our local newspapers come out with articles describing how Brius Healthcare Services wants Partnership Healthplan “to step up and prevent the closures,” remember…Alfred and his wife…The next time Brius and its administrative company, Rockport Healthcare Services, suggest that they are helpless to stop the foreclosures, remember the owner of Brius…Shlomo Rechnitz…can end all of this with one act of human decency.