Press Release

July 15, 2005



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The owners of Emerald Park Health Care Center in Evergreen Park have agreed to have the license of their 249-bed skilled and intermediate care facility suspended and subsequently surrendered as part of a settlement agreement with the Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, announced today.

During the suspension, the owners are barred from operating the facility, located at 9125 S. Pulaski Road in Evergreen Park, in any manner that requires Department licensure as a health care facility. In addition, the majority owner, Morris Esformes, is prohibited from applying for new licensure from IDPH under the Nursing Home Care Act for at least three years and the other owners, Marvin and Doreen Mermelstein , are prohibited from applying for new licenses for at least two years.

“Our priority has been and continues to be resident safety,” said Dr. Whitaker. “I am pleased that we have been able to reach a positive resolution in this matter. This sends as clear message that the Department and the state are willing to take whatever steps are necessary to provide for public health and the safety of Illinois’ residents.”

The agreement gives the owners a period of no more than 270 days to present to the Department a new facility owner for approval and to submit a complete application to the Health Facilities Planning Board for change of ownership. Once the facility has been sold, the license will be surrendered and deemed null and void. Failure to comply with all the requirements prior to the 270 th day will result in the immediate surrender of the license.

In addition, the current owners are prohibited from operating a nursing home at the Emerald Park location for 50 years.

The settlement does not affect the operation of the owners’ other Illinois nursing homes.

The Department began proceedings to revoke Emerald Park’s operating license in June 2004 and also fined the facility $10,000 for substantial failure to comply with the Nursing Home Care Act. A hearing on the matter was scheduled to begin Monday.

On May 10, 2005, at the request of the Department and Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Pathway Health Services was appointed by the Cook County Circuit Court to assume the day-to-day operations of Emerald Park Health Care Center. The court’s action was the result of an emergency motion filed April 27 by the Attorney General’s office on the behalf of Dr. Whitaker due to concerns about the health and safety of the residents at the facility.

Pathway assisted with the transferring of residents to other facilities and the last resident left Emerald Park June 3.

The Department began revocation proceedings after learning the facility failed to provide adequate personal care and supervision to a resident who engaged in sexual activity with multiple partners in exchange for favors and cigarettes. The resident had a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and her sexual partners were not counseled about the possibility of acquiring an STD. The facility did not discover the resident was pregnant until she was at 32-weeks gestation and then failed to provide prenatal care.

After the most recent investigation at the facility concluded April 22, the Department determined that multiple deficiencies existed at the facility. These included:

  • An employee took several residents on an outing to a local park, which was adjacent to a school. The employees did not get the list of residents going on the outing approved by administrative staff. At least one of the residents was a registered sex offender who should not have been allowed on the outing. The employee said the resident had been on several approved outings to the park.
  • The facility failed to assess the behavior and criminal backgrounds of residents to assure they can provide adequate supervision. The facility also failed to assure that a physical assessment was completed at the time of admission, which would have identified that two residents had Illinois Department of Corrections monitoring devices attached to their legs at the time of admission.
  • Multiple fires were intentionally set at the facility during the weekend of April 16 to 17. There were no injuries, but staff’s response was inadequate and it was a further indication of the facility’s failure to supervise residents.

Other recent serious violations against Emerald Park included:

  • A $20,000 fine for not providing nursing services in accordance with residents’ needs following an October 2003 survey. The facility failed to properly monitor the health of a resident who passed out after becoming intoxicated, to report resident abuse, to prevent a resident from leaving the facility unnoticed and to provide special rehabilitative programs to mentally ill residents.
  • A $5,000 fine for not protecting a resident from physical and mental abuse following a July 2002 survey. A resident was interrogated by a facility security guard who refused to let the resident leave the room, pushed the resident and put him in a police hold. The resident told surveyors that he had been interrogated and harassed by this security guard on other occasions and he had reported these to management.


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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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