A 90-bed nursing home formerly run by Haven Healthcare filed a letter of intent with the state Tuesday to close because of low occupancy and the need for millions in improvements.
Genesis Healthcare, which manages Griswold Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center at 97 Preston Road, sent the letter to the state Department of Social Services.
The nursing home has 76 patients, including First Selectman Philip Anthony’s mother, who is in her 80s.
Anthony said an executive from the company told him at 10 a.m. Monday the nursing home planned to close in mid-March.
“I was shocked,” he said. “The shoe dropped on me.”
He said the executive, Tom Quinn, told him the corporation does not have the money to bring the property up to code. Quinn is regional vice president of operations for Genesis, a company spokesman said.
Anthony said he told Quinn the decision to close so quickly showed a “lack of compassion for the residents of the facility.” He said he felt his mother got exceptional care there, and was close to home. Anthony visits her daily.
“I felt it was unfair to the patients, as well as the staff, to have to scramble to have to find other arrangements as well as other jobs in such a short period of time.”
Staff called him, some in tears.
“They’re shocked, they’re devastated,” Anthony said. “They did not see it coming.”
The center has 133 employees. Those workers approached in person at the center said they could not talk to reporters.
Jeanne Moore, a spokeswoman for Genesis, said employees will have at least 60 days notice before their jobs end.
“We will make all efforts to assist them in finding future employment,” she said. She said employees may end up in other Genesis facilities if there are openings and the employee is a good fit.
Martha Everett Meng, legal counsel for the company, said in the letter to the state, “As you are aware, Griswold’s physical plant requires renovations that will cost several million dollars to maintain compliance with current federal and state laws.
“These factors and the significant increase in the Medicaid rate that would be required for Griswold’s continued financial viability all indicate that closing the facility at this time is both appropriate and necessary.”
The letter said there are adequate beds in surrounding communities to care for patients in the Griswold facility.
Patty McQueen, a spokeswoman for Genesis, said the facility needs a building-wide sprinkler system and work on its septic system.
Genesis HealthCare has managed the Griswold center since September, and runs 15 nursing centers in Connecticut. It took over five from Haven Healthcare. The center in Griswold is the only one to close, Moore said.
The others formerly owned by Haven Health are in New Haven, Rocky Hill, West Hartford and West Haven.
May stay open
A letter of intent is the first step in a legal process to close a nursing home, but does not guarantee it will happen.
“There’s a process of review,” said David Dearborn, spokesman for the Department of Social Services.
“An important thing to keep in mind, for residents and family members, is that the request to close a home does not necessarily mean that the facility will close,” he said. “In cases where a facility does close, there is a careful and supportive process that ensues to help residents and their family members with other locations.”
Griswold’s facility has been operated by Genesis since Sept. 1. Formation Capital, an affiliate of senior care development, leases the facility from Omega Healthcare Investors Inc. and Genesis Healthcare manages it, she said. Omega took over the nursing home after the Haven Healthcare bankruptcy case. The company filed for bankruptcy in November 2007, amid accusations of poor patient care.
The Griswold facility was built in 1964, with one floor and three resident wings.
A court-appointed receiver is running the former Haven Health Center homes in Norwich, Windham and Danielson, Dearborn said. He said a sale is in process to turn over ownership; a single buyer, doing business as Colonial Care, plans to buy the three homes.
|The state Department of Social Services will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. Feb. 3 at Griswold Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center, on a request to close the nursing home. First Selectman Philip Anthony said he would oppose the closure on behalf of the town.|