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Posted on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Ciena Healthcare reopens Ann Arbor nursing care facility after $5 million renovation

By Nathan Bomey

Senior care services provider Ciena Healthcare this month reopened its Ann Arbor skilled nursing center after a $5 million expansion project.

The Regency at Bluffs Park, which had been closed since fall 2008, reopened with a second floor and a new wing attached to its eastern side.

In a strategy shift, Southfield-based Ciena converted the Regency at Bluffs Park into a short-term rehabilitation facility. When it closed, the aging building — which had changed ownership since it was built in the 1960s — was functioning as a long-term care facility.


The renovated Regency at Bluffs Park has 33 private rooms and 19 double-bed rooms.

Melanie Maxwell |


Ciena Healthcare's Regency at Bluffs Park nursing facility is located on Huron View Boulevard.

Melanie Maxwell |

But Mohammad Qazi, CEO of Ciena Healthcare, said the new focus on short-term rehab was a response to market trends.

“It’s not that we’re abandoning long-term care, but more and more patients that are coming from hospitals these days are in need of short-term services,” Qazi said.

That includes cardiac rehabilitation and orthopedic rehabilitation patients who are recovering from knee replacement surgery or hip replacement operations, for example.

The new facility, which has 33 private rooms and 19 double-bed rooms, is located on Huron View Boulevard southwest of M-14’s interchange with North Main Street. It was built to feel more like a “boutique hotel” instead of a nursing home, Qazi said.

“The expectations are different these days,” he said.

The renovated and expanded structure is 37,169 square feet, 60.4 percent bigger than the old facility.

The renovation project, which didn't start immediately after the Ann Arbor facility closed, was completed nearly five years after Ciena agreed to pay $1.25 million to settle a health care fraud investigation by the U.S. government and Michigan Attorney General's Office.

The investigation, which focused on four Ciena facilities, did not include the Ann Arbor site, but Ciena was forced to complete a "corporate integrity agreement that is designed to improve the care provided by all of the Ciena facilities," according to a 2007 news release distributed by the former AG Mike Cox's office.

That corporate integrity agreement required Ciena to conduct training for its employees and institute policies to ensure the proper handling of "basic care needs," "appropriate drug therapies," "fall prevention strategies" and resident nutrition, according to the 40-page corporate integrity agreement.

A spokesman for Regency at Bluffs Park said there was "no relation" between the 2008 closure of the facility and the settlement, in which Ciena did not admit wrongdoing. An review of settlement documents confirmed that assessment.

"Ciena had no legal or regulatory requirements or obligations to reconstruct and renovate the Ann Arbor facility," the spokesman said.

As part of the settlement, Ciena was required to install an independent examiner to monitor some of its facilities, but that requirement expires in August.

Qazi said the Regency at Bluffs Park upgrades were necessary to appeal to residents who want private rooms, for example, which the previous facility did not have.

Ciena expects the facility — which incorporates environmentally sustainable features like recycled ceramic bathroom tiles and cork dining-room flooring — to secure LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Each resident room has a 32-inch LCD TV, accessible shower stalls and a phone answering system.

The renovated facility features portable electronic medical records stations, a refreshed activities room and private restaurant-style dining facilities on both floors.

Ciena Healthcare, which has 32 facilities in Michigan and four in Connecticut, officially reopened the Ann Arbor facility in early February. The building will gradually add residents over the next several months. It had three residents as of Feb. 13 and is expected to be at full capacity by late summer or early fall, said administrator Dave Hautamaki.

Hautamaki said the facility would eventually employ about 100 workers, with the hiring process accelerating as the resident population rises. That reflects an increase of 25 percent to 30 percent over the facility’s personnel count when it closed in 2008, he said.

Ciena’s decision to redirect the focus of the Regency at Bluffs Park toward short-term rehab comes as long-term and short-term care providers are bracing for the full impact of federal health care reform.

Providers have said that the federal health care reform law will force them to operate more efficiently, reduce patients’ hospital readmission rates and consider partnerships with major health care systems.

The reform, signed into law by President Barack Obama in early 2010, favors so-called “accountable care organizations,” which receive more funding for containing and lowering costs by coordinating patient care at all stages of the recovery process.

Qazi said long-term and short-term care providers must play a critical role in ACOs.

“There’s an increased emphasis on hospitals to get people out and if you’re not equipped, they end up being re-hospitalized, which adds to the overall costs of the health care system,” he said.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.


Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Feb 24, 2012 : 11:16 a.m.

"I wouldn't complain TOO MUCH. was too lazy to actually include what the accusations/charges were." You actually were expecting REPORTING? What a HOOT!


Fri, Feb 24, 2012 : 4:24 a.m.

Buckeye, I wouldn't complain TOO MUCH. was too lazy to actually include what the accusations/charges were. They just kind of glossed over that there was an issue with fraud and then goon to say all the great things Ciena is doing with their end of the settlement. Although, I suppose one could probably read between the lines based on what they are doing in the settlement agreement.


Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

That has got to be one of the ugliest colors on the wall...what an outdated room! Yuck! That decor will make you want to get better and leave as soon as possible!

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

There was a reason the Attorney General press releases calls it health care FRAUD.

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

Corporations who STEAL money from Medicare tax dollars, thus pulling money from people who really need it, are the lowest of the low. If I were this CEO I would be ashamed to show my face in public, much less sit down for a PR interview. Not surprisingly, this article is sans any apology. Surprise.

Pixie Belle

Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

The green my goodness. Looks like vomit. How is this supposed to be attractive. Looks just like a nursing home there's nothing boutique about it at all.


Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

Thank you Ciena for investing in Ann Arbor and Michigan. It is too bad that the press is so critical and always has to find something bad to report. Looks like the competitors are getting nervous and making comments too.....

Pixie Belle

Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

I'm not a competitor I just think it's ugly. I wish them well and hope they provide good care for their residents.


Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

A boutique hotel? Really? That picture looks like your middle of the road rehab joint, except for woohoo a lamp. Is this the best we can do for our elders?


Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

The fact that the same group still owns it makes me more than paint doesn't cover over origional flaws....last time I was in there it made whitehall look good....


Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

Looks like an old hippie interior decorator was having a flashback" brown phase" moment. The curtains are to die for; or from!