Care Enterprises, a California holding company whose subsidiaries operate 103 nursing homes in six states including seven in Utah has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors.

However, the company said it has arranged $10 million in credit that it believes will adequately meet operational needs while it is restructured under bankruptcy proceedings.The company runs nursing homes in California, New Mexico, Ohio, West Virginia, Florida and Utah. Its Utah holdings include Care West-Bountiful, Care West-Salt Lake, Care West-Valley View, Care West-Heber, Care West-Clearfield, Care West-Mt. Ogden and Lakecrest Developmental Care Center in Orem.

Care said the Chapter 11 filing affected only the parent company, not its subsidiaries that run all of its nursing homes. The long-term debt all belongs to the parent company.

Dennis N. McFall, executive vice president of the Utah Health Care Association, agreed that the filing should not affect its operations here.

"Care Enterprises has been a long-standing corporation operating in Utah. As an association, we receive very few complaints regarding their services," McFall said. "However, we are concerned since this is the third major filing in recent months."

Best Care Inc. and Twin Pines Inc. filed bankruptcies earlier this year.

"It raises concern from our perspective about the elimination of Certificate of Need (a government-controlled planning process) and the attendant rash of building which has taken place resulting in an excess supply of nursing home beds in this state," he said. "No adjustment in payment rates by the Medicaid agency has taken place and therefore, the payment rate itself has become inadequate in many instances."

McFall added, "While the state talks about competitive market forces, they only allow those market forces to operate which are in their own best interest. They do not allow nursing homes, for example, to increase their billings for services to compensate for changing market conditions.

"We cannot effectively compete with other health care providers for the limited supply of professional nurses, for example."

The executive said he expects to see new bankruptcy filings before the year is over.

Under Chapter 11, a company is permitted to continue operating while it works out its difficulties. However, its business decisions during that period must be approved by the court.

Care, which operated as a private company before going public in 1982, said the bankruptcy action "was precipitated by its inability to reach an agreement with its creditors to reorganize long-term debt."

As of Sept. 30, the company had long-term debt of $135 million, down from $140 million on Dec. 31, 1986.

The company said it will permit its debt-restructuring proposal to expire March 31 because too few holders of its notes had agreed to take part in it.

The proposal called for debt holders to agree to postpone the maturity dates on the company's notes paying 9 percent and 16 percent interest.

Care's troubles have deepened in the last two years.

In 1986, the company lost $9.9 million on revenues of $264.8 million. That deficit included $3.8 million in losses on the sale of assets.