DSHS might revoke license of nursing home

Carolees at Ridgefield working to avoid foreclosure

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

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The state Department of Social and Health Services notified a Ridgefield assisted living facility this week that it intends to revoke the center's operating license.

DSHS issued a licensing revocation notice Thursday to Carolees at Ridgefield, 888 S. Hillhurst Road, after learning the facility was scheduled for public auction later this month, said Nancy Tyson, district administrator for DSHS residential care services. No patient care issues were cited in the revocation notice, she said.

The Washington State Office of the Attorney General notified DSHS in early March that Carolees owner Carol Fox had fallen behind on her mortgage payments and was facing foreclosure, Tyson said. DSHS issued the revocation notice as a result of the pending auction, she said.

The state's appeal process gives Fox 29 days to respond to the notice. The public auction, however, is currently scheduled for March 29, Tyson said.

If the facility is auctioned due to foreclosure, the facility's lease with the state will be terminated and its 12 residents will be required to move out, Tyson said.

"At this point, it's unfortunate, but we don't know how all this is going to play out," she said.

With the future of the facility uncertain, DSHS took action to ensure residents

and their families had time to secure new living arrangements, if necessary, Tyson said.

Fox is confident the facility will remain in business without disruption to residents. Fox's attorney is negotiating mortgage refinancing terms with her lender, New York-based Matrix Advisors. The deal should be completed in a few days, Fox said.

If Fox is able to secure a new loan and avoid public auction, DSHS will review the deal and determine whether to proceed with the revocation process, Tyson said.

Fox has operated Carolees at Ridgefield, which is licensed for 35 residents, for 24 years. Fox originally had the Carolees' mortgage with the now-defunct Bank of Clark County. When the bank was shut down by regulators four years ago, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. sold the loan to Matrix Advisors, Fox said.

Marissa Harshman: 360-735-4546; http://twitter.com/col_health; http://facebook.com/reporterharshman; marissa.harshman@columbian.com.