Paycheck problems at luxury Wellington rehab ‘under review’ by state


On a Tuesday in April, executives at NuVista Living at Wellington Green held meetings with anxious employees, hoping to calm fears and explain why paychecks had been late, held back or bounced in recent months.

Officials at the luxury rehabilitation and senior living facility blamed payroll problems on two factors: a delayed Medicare payment and a shortfall from an investment partner. NuVista officials, including chairwoman Elizabeth Fago, promised the workers they would be paid that coming Friday.

Then Fago, who lives in a $7 million home on the Intracoastal Waterway in Jupiter, told employees something else.

“I’d like to say a prayer for every one of us, that we not only make it to Friday, but we make it,” Fago said. “Pray as deepest and hardest as you ever have.”

The employees, some of whom are low-paid nursing assistants, formed a circle, held hands and prayed.

They prayed for their company — and their paychecks.

The leader of the vigil is a feisty, politically connected entrepreneur who was once a national nursing home magnate. In addition to operating the Wellington facility, Fago is set to open a $75 million rehab and assisted living facility  in Jupiter. The Institute for Healthy Living also will include a memory center for people with brain diseases, a center that will have research links with Scripps Florida.

The institute once was scheduled to open in 2016 but still isn’t open, and Jupiter Medical Center pulled out of a much-heralded partnership with the institute in February, The Palm Beach Post has learned.

Meanwhile, Fago’s payroll company, owned with her son, Paul Walczak, owes a stunning $8.3 million in liens to the IRS for back payroll taxes. And a spokeswoman for the state Agency for Healthcare Administration told The Post on Tuesday that NuVista’s issues “related to compensation and payroll are under review.” Shelisha Coleman did not elaborate or say when the review would be completed.

NuVista investors and an investor in another venture, however, are in large part getting paid — at least $24 million since 2015, according to court records.

Stressed, caring for elderly

But life has been much more tenuous for the 400 full- and part-time employees at NuVista Living, which is west of State Road 7, just south of the Mall at Wellington Green.

Not only have employees worried about getting their paychecks on time, off and on during the past six months, their health-care premiums weren’t always paid on time, workers said, forcing them to check with their insurance company before they saw a doctor. Employees say they are stressed, even as they must set aside worries to care for frail and vulnerable patients.

As her payroll company fell behind in taxes, Fago contributed $26,209 to federal and state political organizations and candidates from 2014 to October 2016, according to the Federal Elections Commission and Florida Division of Elections. This includes $10,000 in October 2016 to Trump Victory, a joint fund-raising committee for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and Republican committees. Other contributions went to Gov. Rick Scott and Jeb Bush, the former presidential candidate who as governor brought the Scripps Research Institute to Florida.

Self-described fighters, Fago, chairwoman of Palm Health Partners, which manages the NuVista facility, and Walczak, its chief executive, said they’re determined to weather NuVista’s cash crunch and grow the company.

NuVista has maintained strong marks for patient care and administration, earning mostly five stars from the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration.

Walczak said they’re providing a new type of health care for Palm Beach County. It’s health care that puts quality over quantity, emphasizes patient wellness and benefits “our hometown, our community,” Walczak said.

During a daylong interview with The Post on April 30, Fago, Walczak and other top NuVista executives said a new investment group was slated to infuse NuVista with more than $200 million, an amount that would give the company plenty of working capital and eliminate the “cash flow challenges” that have dogged NuVista’s operations.

“I’m highly confident that once that’s done, it puts us back on solid footing,” Walczak said.

Fago and Walczak said the capital infusion also would resolve three pending lawsuits from two investors: Palm Beach Gardens developer E. Llwyd Ecclestone, who is seeking $723,887 in two lawsuits; and Warren and Martha Halle, Fago’s neighbors who are suing her over an unpaid $5 million loan, court records show.

The refinancing is expected to be completed in 30 to 60 days, Walczak said April 30. 

Dean Tendrich, a former weatherman for WPTV-Channel 5, is NuVista’s marketing director. His late father, real estate developer Steven Tendrich, was a partner with NuVista.

Tendrich said NuVista’s problems were totally unforeseen, an “unbelievable perfect storm, events that have occurred that no one could have ever predicted.”

A history of lawsuits

NuVista’s investors or employees may not have been able to predict the current situation, but Fago and Walczak are no strangers to lawsuits and IRS liens, according to public records.

Fago was the subject of a 2004 investigation by The Post, which detailed her financial history. The story came after Fago was appointed by Bush to chair the audit committee of the Scripps Florida Funding Corp., the group created by the Florida Legislature to serve as a watchdog over the state’s $310 million investment.

After working as a real estate broker selling nursing homes, Fago began buying and operating them in 1993. She found success turning around troubled facilities. She said her Palm Beach Gardens-based company, Home Quality Management, employed 13,000 people in 85 facilities in half a dozen states.

The Post reported that while she served on the watchdog board, Fago’s Continuum Care Corp., a nursing home business she managed, owed $1.3 million in payroll taxes. The payroll taxes later were paid off, according to county records. As Fago and her company donated hundreds of thousands to the Republican Party, the company struggled to pay basic benefits to its employees. Small businesses, also contending with HQM’s cash flow problems, sued or filed liens, The Post found.

At the time, Fago also had been a defendant in nearly three dozen lawsuits brought by local residents or businesses — mostly for nonpayment and breach of contract. Fago defended herself or countersued. Over time, the suits all settled.

Fago was an early backer of La Jolla, Calif.-based Scripps’ expansion to Palm Beach County, a blockbuster deal revealed in 2003. The state and Palm Beach County gave Scripps a combined $579 million in taxpayer money to build and finance the Jupiter research center.

During the April 30 interview, Fago said that when she learned of the Scripps deal, “I sat at my desk and I said: ‘Oh my God. This is the future. I want to be on that board.’ Within five minutes, my phone rings and it was Governor Bush.”

But after The Post’s 2004 articles, Fago stepped down from the Scripps audit committee, saying the public records-based stories were “distracting” and “unsubstantiated.”

She stayed on the state board until March 2005, when she resigned amid accusations she had meddled in the deal to build Scripps. The research center once was slated for Mecca Farms in western Palm Beach County but ended up in Jupiter’s Abacoa community. Fago was accused of lobbying for a Scripps site other than Mecca Farms. She denied the claims.

In October 2007, after growing HQM to $650 million in revenues, Fago sold the company for an undisclosed sum.

Two years later, Walczak created NuVista Healthcare Investors LLC to create rehabilitation facilities in Wellington, Lutz and Jupiter, according to state and court records. Also created was Palm Health Partners, to develop and manage them.

Founding NuVista members included Walczak, Fago, Tendrich and Palm Beach hotelier William Meyer, whose family name adorns the Meyer Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach. Other investors were part-time Palm Beacher Paul Fireman, who bought and grew Reebok athletic shoes into a formidable brand and is worth $1 billion, according to Forbes; and Boynton Beach developer Michael Puder.

‘Don’t give up on me’

During a reporter’s April visit to the Wellington facility, Fago walked into the lobby with former Palm Beach County Commissioner Karen Marcus by her side. Fago and Marcus say they are longtime friends.

Marcus raved about the care at the facility. She recalled a patient she knew at NuVista. “She loved the food,” Marcus said. “She’s French. They’re very particular about food.”

But the payroll issues have taken their toll. Employees have left, and several jobs remain unfilled, sources said.

On Indeed.com, a job website, employees frequently comment about pay. While some comments praised the facility as friendly and innovative, other comments complained about management, staffing levels and pay issues. The reviews were evenly split between positive and negative.

“Productive, friendly environment,” wrote one reviewer on March 12. “A regular work day consists of fast-paced action from the minute you walk in the door….The staff is very friendly.”

“Do not work here I repeat do not work here,” read the title of an April 18 review. “This place has serious money issues…Every bank and check-cashing store in the area is refusing to cash our work checks when we do get them. We show up for our shifts on time but when it’s payday, we don’t even know if we are going to get paid or have to wait a whole month like before. This place needs to be shut down.”

Other recent reviews said the facility was regularly understaffed and had “very high staff turnover.”

Fago and Walczak said turnover is low.

They also say they refuse to lay off employees, outsource workers or cut food costs because any of those actions would hurt the high quality of care they provide.

“This is one team, one culture,” Walczak said. “Sometimes it’s more costly in the short run, but in the long run, you produce a product that the consumer gets healthy with.”

Walczak said he’s been up front with staff about the company’s financial condition. During April meetings with employees, Walczak apologized repeatedly for the payroll issues.

“I am not making any excuses,” he told employees. “I’m trying to be as open as possible so we are all on the same page.”

Walczak pleaded with them to stay as he worked to refinance NuVista with one of two investment groups, a deal that also would mean buying back the Wellington and Jupiter facility buildings from a real estate investment trust that bought them in 2014 and 2015.

But Walczak said negotiations have been difficult because they are dealing with the REIT’s lawyers.

Walczak urged patience.

“I know a lot of you are very upset and concerned, but we’re working through it,” Walczak said. “We have to come work every day, all of us, and provide the best care and be the best place for our residents, day in, day out, because that’s what allows us to solve this situation.

“I beg of you, don’t give up on me.”

Walczak lashed out at vendors: “Everybody’s putting the screws to us right now.” He singled out Blue Cross Blue Shield, the employees’ insurance company, for wanting to be paid in advance.

During one employee meeting, Fago offered to provide grocery money if workers needed it.

A company’s financial instability can affect employee performance, especially workers who care for people in need, said Rita Shea-Van Fossen, associate professor of management in the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University.

“If employees are not on stable footing, how can they care for patients to get back on stable footing?” Shea-Van Fossen asked.

The NuVista meetings left some employees exasperated. “Just do right by people and pay them,” one employee said.

Cupcakes and hugs

Despite the tense times, employees put on bright smiles as they greeted Fago and Walczak during the tour in late April. Dr. Emilio Fernandez, the staff doctor, hugged Walczak.

“The smiles,” Walczak said. “You can’t create smiles on a staff. They’ve got to love to be here and love to work here. If they love to work here, the product being delivered to our customers is what allows us to get them healthy and get them home.”

Workers, who just had been told to be patient about NuVista’s cash flow problems, were amazed that a broken employee elevator was fixed soon after hearing a reporter would be visiting. Also improved was the landscaping, which quickly blossomed with freshly planted pink and white pentas.

The creamy yellow walls and jewel-colored carpets in the hallways give the facility a feeling of a hotel, with 120 beds for short-term care plus 52 beds for assisted living.

Fruit-infused water dispensers were stationed throughout. Outside the conference room, a pianist played.

NuVista’s upscale look is deliberate. Most people are afraid of traditional, institutional-style rehab centers, Walczak said.

But at NuVista, “when a customer is brought through the door, their emotional, physical and mental effect is, ‘Wow. I can do this. Maybe I’m not going to die.’ And they are hit with, ‘We want you healthy. We want you back home.’”

In the conference room, the facility’s chef had prepared a spread of food described as a sampling of items available every day to patients, or as NuVista executives call them, customers.

Menu items included vegan vanilla cupcakes, strawberries covered in gourmet chocolate, vegetable crudites and homemade dip.

Fago stressed the importance of diet to a customer’s well-being. “Food can heal you, or it can kill you,” Fago said.

Walczak said NuVista spends between $13 and $14 per day per patient on food, while the industry average is only $5.50.

The physical therapy room hummed with customers and therapists. It featured the latest in exercise equipment, including a zero-gravity treadmill. NuVista employs 55 full-time physical therapists, and patients receive two hours of physical therapy daily, seven days a week, Fago and Walczak said.

Tendrich said NuVista Living is in high demand by rehab patients. “They cry when they leave here, and they cry when they can’t get in here,” Tendrich said.

Patient referrals come from area hospitals, including Wellington Regional and JFK Medical in Atlantis, said Walczak. He urged a reporter to call hospital executives for feedback.

Executives from Wellington Regional and JFK did not return phone calls seeking comment.

A new type of health care

NuVista at Wellington opened in 2011 as a standard fee-for-service provider but decided to add a new source of revenue in 2013, Walczak said.

In addition to being paid per service by Medicare, NuVista oversees and coordinates a 90-day period after a patient is discharged from a hospital for rehabilitation and recovery, Walczak said. After the 90-day period is over, Medicare then “reconciles” all the costs.

Success is measured in a patient’s wellness. If there are savings during that patient’s recovery greater than the traditional costs incurred for say, a hip surgery, the government splits it with the provider.

Walczak said 16,000 rehab patients have come through NuVista during the past six years, spending an average of 14 days. Some 93 percent of them highly recommend NuVista in customer surveys, he said.

Fago said NuVista’s original business model anticipated the Medicare bundled payments would be paid within seven to nine months of service. But payments have been much slower. At one time, a payment was delayed 17 months, Walczak said.

The latest delayed Medicare payment to NuVista totals about $600,000 and is for services provided in the third quarter of 2017, Walczak said. This payment, described in a letter from Medicare shown to this reporter, notes that the payment will be “significantly delayed” and was cited by Walczak as a reason for NuVista’s cash flow problems, along with the fact that the month of March had three pay periods in it.

Walczak blamed the check delay on problems Medicare has had reviewing services during the 90-day post-surgery period and the increased number of providers participating in the voluntary bundled payment plan.

A Medicare spokesman said the payments typically are made three quarters after the period of performance.

However cumbersome the bundled payment system is, NuVista’s health-care model, based on improving quality and coordination of care, is the future, Walczak said.

“It’s good for the patient, and it incentivizes doctors to perform at the highest level,” Fago said.

Added heat from a REIT

The Medicare payment lags aren’t the only reason for NuVista’s cash flow problems, Walczak said.

He blamed the real estate investment trust, American Realty Capital, for failing to fully finance a $200 million commitment.

In 2014 and 2015, American Realty paid $86 million for the buildings at Wellington, Jupiter and a property in Lutz that NuVista no longer operates, according to public records. Walczak said the REIT was supposed to provide $114 million in working capital.

But in 2014, American Realty was beset by an accounting scandal, according to published reports. The REIT’s assets subsequently were sold. Healthcare Trust, which now owns the properties, did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Walczak said American Realty’s problems left it $40 million short on its financial commitment to NuVista.

Since 2014, NuVista has not consistently paid payroll taxes to the IRS, county records show. In March, the IRS placed another lien on NuVista’s payroll company, PHP Employment Services LLC, for $2 million in unpaid payroll taxes for the third quarter of 2017, records show.

The liens total $8.3 million.

“That’s a lot of money,” said Salvatore Bochicchio, founder of East Coast Tax Consulting Group, a Boca Raton firm that helps taxpayers with IRS liens and payroll tax penalties.

“I would assume at some point in time, they’ve entered into an installment agreement to pay this off,” Bochicchio said. “But $8 million is hard to pay off.”

Under the law, the IRS can seize assets of a “responsible party,” Bochicchio and other tax experts said. PHP Employment Services  is owned by FW Management Partners LLC, which is owned by Fago and Walczak, according to state corporate records.

An IRS spokesman in Washington declined to comment.

Walczak said, “We’re working closely with (the IRS), and this will be one of the obligations that is met in the refinancing.”

Walczak also said NuVista’s vendors are being paid and providing services.

As an example, he cited the facility’s pharmacy. “We’ve never had a glitch in any medication, and there’s never been a stop in services provided,” said Jennifer Hawkins, NuVista chief clinical officer. “My patients are getting their medications timely, they’re getting better, and they’re going home.”

As for the company’s health insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield, “we are current with them,” Walczak said. “We did have a period where there were some challenges, but everything is completely active. There are no issues.”

In addition, any bounced check fees or overdraft costs have been reimbursed to employees, he said.

Fago said the refinancing will provide plenty of working capital and give NuVista an 18-month cushion. In addition, the money may be used to expand NuVista to Central Florida or Miami, Walczak said.

Recent investor lawsuits

Original investors in NuVista poured money in between 2009 and 2013, according to court records. By December 2013, it counted $54 million in investments, according to one lawsuit.

But by mid-2014, “due to infighting, self-dealing and severe mismanagement,” NuVista was no longer able to pay its operating expenses and was in “severe financial distress,” according to a Palm Beach County Circuit Court lawsuit filed in February 2017 by Puder, the Boynton Beach developer.

Puder’s lawsuit claimed investors weren’t told PHP Employment Services, (also owned by Meyer and Tendrich at the time) had failed to pay payroll taxes to the IRS for more than $3 million, resulting in a levy of more than $3.6 million. That levy has been paid.

The lawsuit named Fago, Walczak, Meyer and Tendrich personally, plus a number of investment affiliates.

It was only when the IRS threatened to seize NuVista’s assets, the lawsuit said, that NuVista Healthcare Investors disclosed severe cash shortages and that without extra money from investors, the company’s assets would have to be sold.

Most, but not all, investors voted to sell NuVista’s Lutz, Wellington and Jupiter properties to the REIT and lease them back, the complaint said.

In 2015, NuVista Healthcare Investors began to redeem shares. Some $21 million was paid out in a first phase with other investors slated to receive another $6 million in a second phase.

But some investors said in lawsuits that they didn’t receive all the money due them in the second phase. Affiliates owned by Puder, Fireman (the Reebok mogul), North Palm Beach resident Steven Esrick, and most recently, Ecclestone, sued NuVista Healthcare Investors and Fago for the balance of the second redemptions.

In 2017, judgments of $753,053 were entered by two Esrick affiliates and one Maryland investment group against Fago, who had provided personal guarantees, court records show. Another judgment for $893,301 by the Fireman affiliates, which had obtained Fago’s personal guarantee as well, was entered last year, court records show.

All the judgments were fully paid and satisfied in November, according to court records.

None of the money came from the NuVista facility in Wellington, Walczak said. “Absolutely not,” he said. “It’s come from us.”

Another investor who was paid was retired Palm Beach periodontist Richard Lazzara, who was involved in a separate venture with Walczak and Fago. Lazzara’s company, Azzura Capital, sued Walczak in 2012 following a failed real estate deal on Singer Island, according to court records.

Walczak said the plan was to build a condominium, but if that didn’t work, then they would build an independent living facility. Walczak said the deal collapsed with the real estate recession. Lazzara couldn’t be reached for comment.

After Lazzara obtained $19 million in two judgments against Walczak, Walczak filed for Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy in 2014, according to court records.

In his bankruptcy filing, Walczak, a Palm Beach Gardens resident who also lives on the Intracoastal, cited $24 million in debts to banks, plus Lazzara and his company, Azzura. Lazzara’s claims were mostly wiped out in Walczak’s bankruptcy, said Louis Mrachek, Lazzara’s West Palm Beach lawyer.

But Fago, who had personally guaranteed a loan and who was sued by Lazzara in 2013, paid Lazzara $3.35 million in 2015, Mrachek said.

Fago said she’s on good terms with investors such as Puder, who obtained a judgment of $1.2 million in 2017 against NuVista Healthcare Investors: “We’re still involved with him in business.”

In an interview, Puder said “everything’s fine” with Fago and Walczak, but he’s not committed to being an investor again: “I haven’t had time to look at it.”

Meanwhile, Fago and Walczak said “there’s no issue” with investor Ecclestone, who sued NuVista Healthcare Investors and Fago in December to recoup $523,887 in investor redemptions. A separate Ecclestone affiliate filed a February lawsuit against FW Healthcare Investments to recoup a $200,000 loan.

An Ecclestone attorney said his client does not comment on pending litigation.

Neighbors suing neighbors

Also suing are the Halles, Fago’s neighbors on Regatta Drive in Jupiter’s Admirals Cove country club community. In 2016, the Halles loaned $5 million to Fago and  FW Healthcare Investments, a company owned by Fago and Walczak, according to public records.

The 2017 lawsuit seeks $6.3 million in principal plus interest as well as enforcement of Fago’s personal guarantee, according to court records.

Fago said Warren Halle, a D.C.-area developer, was an investor who wanted into the deal but changed his mind.

Walczak said Fago was unable to repay the Halles due to the cash flow issues, but both he and Fago said the Halles also are waiting on the refinance to be repaid, and there are no hard feelings. “We had dinner!” Fago said.

“I don’t know any business person that’s hasn’t had a lawsuit,” Fago added.

An attorney for the Halles did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Will Jupiter center open?

Meanwhile, the Institute for Healthy Living in Jupiter, under construction since 2012, still isn’t ready.

Both Fago and Walczak offered assurances that the institute would open and employ 500 people.

The institute was seen as a bid to capture returns on the state’s Scripps investment by blending research and academia with health care. “This is what the whole Scripps Research Institute was all about when it was first visioned. All these minds coming together,” Walczak said in 2014.

Scripps Executive Vice President Doug Bingham said he’s talked to Fago and Walczak about the institute.

“They’re delayed due to a disagreement with the owner of the building, and I guess they’re moving forward toward completion,” Bingham said. “I wish whoever is building the facility would get it done because it will be an asset to the community.”

On a bright day in April, several subcontractors were at the pastel-colored Caribbean-style facility, a 240,000-square-foot center on Central Boulevard just north of Donald Ross Road.

The institute features a 129-bed nursing home, a 70-bed assisted living facility and a 30-bed center for people with brain disorders. It also has a clinical research center that will give scientists from Scripps and Florida Atlantic University access to the facility’s patients.

During a tour, Fago, her brother, Tony, and her other son, Joey Fago, pointed out the building’s upscale finishes, both in decor and technology.

From a room in the facility, Scripps’ iconic silver spire can be seen through the trees.

Fago is proud of her efforts to advance Scripps, which she sees as the future for her children and grandchildren. She said biomedical research expands the county’s economy beyond construction and real estate. “We didn’t have the life sciences that they bring to us,” she said.

She said she even flew local leaders up to Tallahassee on her private plane in 2003 when the state Legislature considered the $310 million for Scripps.

Fago donated $2 million to Scripps, which named its library after her.

Today, Fago said she not only sits on a Scripps advisory board but is willing to do “whatever I can” for the research center.

In addition to arranging fund-raisers, “I am probably the person who brings more awareness (of Scripps) since its conception. When you talk Scripps, Elizabeth Fago has been there since Day One,” Fago said.

Scripps was vague about Fago’s contribution to the research center.

“Elizabeth Fago has been a donor and a volunteer and an ambassador for us, and we appreciate her support,” Scripps spokeswoman Stacey Singer said this month.

When asked to elaborate, Singer replied: “Nope.”

At one time, Jupiter Medical Center was the institute’s exclusive hospital partner and planned to provide a range of services, including imaging and lab services, plus a “fast-pass” into the hospital if a patient needed to be admitted. 

But Jupiter Medical ended its ties to NuVista in February “to focus on our expanding clinical services and growing hospital campus,” hospital spokeswoman Emily Pantiledes said. “However, NuVista has expressed an interest in purchasing beds from Jupiter Medical Center. That is the extent of our relationship.”

Walczak said the relationship was always loosely defined and could have constituted a partnership or just the sale of beds. He said the hospital recently decided to sell beds.

Walczak said final inspections at the institute by the town of Jupiter are underway, as the facility seeks to obtain its certificate of occupancy so it can open.

Roger Held, Jupiter’s building department director, said the institute’s construction has “crawled along,” but it now appears “they’re trying to wrap it up.”

But employees hired for the institute have been reassigned to positions in Wellington during the past couple of weeks, workers say.

Indeed, during April meetings with employees, Walczak was tentative about the Jupiter facility. “We don’t know,” he answered. “‘It’s part of our negotiation” with the REIT, he said. “We put an offer on the table that we’re negotiating through.”

“This is our number priority,” he said of the Wellington facility.

Walczak then told employees he planned to borrow money from a friend to make payroll.

“I’m giving him the title to my house; I”ll do whatever’s necessary,” Walczak said. “That’s how much I believe in us.” 

That Friday, and every Friday since, the company has paid employees on time.

A peek inside the Institute for Healthy Living

NuVista’s Institute for Healthy Living in Jupiter features soothing beige tones, warm woods and designer light fixtures . The windows are hurricane resistant and the building has a backup generator, as does the Wellington facility.

The assisted living facility offers a beauty salon, theater, wellness center, outdoor firepit, even a dog park. The rooms feature 10-foot ceilings, 42-inch televisions and large walk-in closets.

Customers will pay from $3,900 to $7,000 per month for the rooms, which includes three meals a day, served in dining rooms that resemble upscale restaurants.

Joseph Fago, a NuVista Living executive, said some would-be residents have placed refundable reservations of $1,000 for some of the 62 units, which include one or two bedrooms.

The memory care center features three pods of 10 rooms, with curved, eight-foot wide hallways to give the feel of a hotel. An outdoor courtyard is contained, so customers can safely wander in a landscaped but walled area, Fago said.

In the rehabilitation center, which features skilled nursing, all rooms are private with their own bathrooms. Six rooms have automated hoists that can lift a patient from the bed directly to the shower or toilet in the bathroom.

There’s also a 5,000-square-foot physical therapy room filled with new exercise equipment. NuVista executives predict the facility will hire at least 85 physical therapists.

In an adjoining building, there’s a center for research, which will feature some lab space as well as space for physicians.

Palm Beach Post staff researcher Melanie Mena contributed to this story.




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