You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Nursing homes in New Britain and Waterbury are closing for financial reason; state seeks to find new homes for residents in midst of pandemic

Hartford Courant logo Hartford Courant 12/2/2020 Dave Altimari, Hartford Courant

Nursing homes in New Britain and Waterbury are shutting their doors, forcing state officials to try and find new homes for about 25 residents during the middle of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nursing homes say they they closing because of millions of dollars in losses in recent years.

One of the facilities that is closing is the Meridian Manor Health & Rehabilitation Center in Waterbury, one of only about 10 nursing homes in the state that is “COVID naive” or has not had any cases since the pandemic began in the spring.

The other facility that is closing is Cassena Care at New Britain which has had 71 coronavirus cases and 19 deaths, according to state Department of Public Health records.

Cassena, which is owned by New Britain Acquisitions 1 LLC, was the first in early October to notify state officials that they were going to close it’s 90-bed facility. There are still nine residents to be placed from that facility.

The state Department of Public Health is assisting staff at Meridian Manor with relocating the remaining residents to other nursing homes in the area. Meridian has 17 residents at its facility still.

“DPH is monitoring the discharges, there are currently 17 residents in the building, all negative for COVID thus far,” state Department of Public Health spokesman Av Harris said Wednesday.

“Once all the residents have been discharged and the appropriate paperwork filed, the facility will close,” Harris said.

Matthew Barrett, chief executive officer of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, said the pandemic has hit nursing homes hard not only with infections and deaths but also financially.

“There is absolutely nothing to smile about when a nursing home closes as residents are forced to leave their homes, and separated from their caregivers, who are displaced from the workforce,” Barrett said. “It’s especially a tragedy right in the middle of this epic pandemic.”

The state Department of Social Services is in charge of reviewing requests for nursing home to close and approving them.

Meridian Manor notified state officials in a letter dated October 20 that the facility would be closing for financial reasons.

“This decision has comes after years of painstaking efforts to revitalize the center’s declining census, which is directly attributable to loss revenues associated with Connecticut’s reimbursement program changes and the growing trend towards the use of home and community based services,” Matthew Bavolack wrote.

The letter goes onto say Meridian Manor lost $580,000 in fiscal year 2018, $920,000 for fiscal year 2019 and is projected to lose about $1,2 million this fiscal year.

Cassena in its letter to DSS reported their losses to be $1,009,000 and $1,575,000, respectively for fiscal years 2019 and 2018 as well as a loss of approximately $1,400,000 estimated for fiscal year 2020.

Meridian did receive $113,779 from the state in the spring in COVID funds to assist in paying staff, purchasing PPE and improving infection control. Cassena received $397,357 from the state. They aren’t expected to return that money.

As far as occupancy levels Meridian Manor has barely had 50 percent occupancy the past few years with only a 53 percent occupancy in 2019. In August of this year only 37 out of 94 beds were occupied.

Cassena has had better occupancy numbers with rates near 90 percent the past two years. As of October 23 the facility reported 57 residents or 63.3% occupancy.

Barrett said all nursing homes have experienced a downturn in occupancy rates during the pandemic.

“The low occupancy being experienced across the nursing home sector due to the ongoing pandemic is causing enormous financial strain,” Barrett said.

“Nursing homes are expected to recover as census improves later in 2021, but bridge funding from the state is essential,” Barrett said. “OPM and DSS officials are aware and are considering a package of provider relieve to address this issue.”

Meridian did receive $113,779 from the state in the spring in COVID funds to assist in paying staff, purchasing PPE and improving infection control. Cassena received $397,357 from the state.

———

©2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

Visit The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) at www.courant.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Hartford Courant

Hartford Courant
Hartford Courant
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon