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Samaritan sells Wiley Creek Community in Sweet Home
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Samaritan sells Wiley Creek Community in Sweet Home

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The Wiley Creek Community retirement home in Sweet Home was sold last week by Samaritan Health Services to Mosaic Management, part of an ongoing effort to bolster healthcare services in East Linn County.

Samaritan ended up with Wiley Creek back around the late 1990s, when it acquired the Lebanon Community Hospital, which built the property. It’s the only retirement community Samaritan operates, so the sale is part of a pivot to focus solely on healthcare and get Wiley Creek Community into the hands of a company that specializes in senior residential care.

“We decided probably about a year or so ago that, quite frankly, it’s not our core business, and operating an assisted living facility would be better served by someone who that is their core business,” said Ryan Combs, COO of the Lebanon hospital who oversaw Wiley Creek when Samaritan owned it.

Mosaic owns 11 retirement communities in Oregon and Montana, with plans for a number of additional ones in Washington and California.

“One of the attractive things about Wiley Creek was the ability for us to work alongside Samaritan to provide additional health services to the community,” said Jeremy Schoenfelder, Mosaic’s director of development. “I believe this feeling is shared by all of us.”

Neither Samaritan nor Mosaic provided further details of the purchase price, though the property has a real market value of more than $6 million according to record from the Linn County Tax Assessor’s office. That figure does not include the value of the business itself, however.

The sale was finalized on Sept. 30 and Mosaic assumed control of Wiley Creek operations on Oct. 1. Officials said that employees were either retained at the nursing home or given options to work with Samaritan.

Samaritan officials say that proceeds from the sale will help the organization build a brand new urgent care and family medicine clinic in Sweet Home. Samaritan estimates a budget of $9.3 million for completion of the new clinic, as well as remodel of the existing Sweet Home Family Medicine clinic on Main Street.

In addition to sale profits, there’s also a fundraising effort, with community members helping to raise about $617,000 and counting so far. The goal is to hit $1 million.

Those who would like to make a donation can do so by visiting www.samhealth.org and type the following into the webpage search function: “Building A Healthier Sweet Home Together.”

“It’s all about increasing access to quality healthcare,” said Christy Duncan, senior regional development specialist for the Lebanon Community Hospital Foundation. “Quality healthcare close to where they live.”

Officials and community members say that an urgent care clinic is sorely needed in Sweet Home, which currently has none. Residents must drive to Lebanon for emergency care, or rely on fire and ambulance services for rapid response.

“We’re excited to provide this service up here,” said Milt Moran, board member of Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. “Fire and ambulance provides most emergency care in this area.”

The Sweet Home Fire District is spread thin, however, because it responds to calls clear out in rural Lane County, near Blue Pool right off Highway 126.

Samaritan actually has plans for improvements to every one of their hospitals in Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties.

The new Sweet Home clinic is planned to go on the corner lot of the field in front of the existing retirement community. The large rock sign for Wiley Creek will likely have to come down to make room for the project. A new sign is expected to be installed in the next year, officials said.

Aside from an urgent care clinic, the new building will also house primary care offices. The goal is also have a landing pad so helicopter ambulances can bring patients directly to the urgent care clinic from the scene of an emergency, or from other area hospitals.

“It was a mutually beneficial deal for both Mosaic and Samaritan and both companies will be working within their core competencies,” said Lebanon hospital CEO Marty Cahill said of the Wiley Creek sale.

Troy Shinn covers healthcare, natural resources and Linn County government. He can be reached at 541-812-6114 or troy.shinn@lee.net. He can be found on Twitter at @troydshinn. 

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