Sunday, December 11, 2016

Operator Of Assisted Living Facility Abruptly Goes Out Of Business, Leaving Dozens Of Elderly Residents Incapable Of Independent Living (ie. Dementia, Mobility Issues, etc.) Facing The Boot, Getting Short Notice To Pack Up & Leave

In Des Moines, Iowa, The Des Moines Register reports:
  • Anxiety was high [] at an assisting living center across from Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, where dozens of elderly residents were notified [] they might have to move before Christmas.

    The owners of Walden Point Assisted Living gave the state 90 days’ notice that it was no longer going to be licensed as an assisted living complex, instead becoming an independent living facility, because their primary contractor, Brightstar Care of Ankeny, abruptly ended services.

    Residents who feel they need a higher level of care in assisted living will have to move from the facility [...] by Dec. 16. In the interim, services are being provided by a temporary contractor.

    The Rev. James Craig contacted the Reader’s Watchdog, wondering what residents, most in their 80s and 90s, were supposed to do. He said most of the residents need help with basic living, including medications, and many cannot walk without assistance.

    “Many are unable to find an alternative place to live without assistance, and will have to live at Walden Point without assistance or potentially be homeless or forced to make hasty decisions about where to live, or be forced into the homes of family or friends,” he wrote.

    At a meeting [] with residents, Jesse Burns, who represented Walden Point’s owners, said Brightstar, the service provider, gave the facility no notice it was ending its service contract. “That’s never happened before in 23 years I’ve been in this business,” he said.

    Burns said the facility looked for a permanent replacement to Brightstar to take over the assisted living responsibilities and couldn’t find one, so it had to make a decision to change its licensing status.

    Workers said they were scrambling to see which residents could continue to live at Walden Point with services provided from independent home care agencies.

    DHS said the state's managed care providers were working with case managers for residents to provide services that could be provided under Medicaid.

    Residents who determine they have to move will receive deposits back and have their housing payments pro-rated, he said.

    At the meeting, family members expressed anger and concern for residents — some of whom have dementia, mobility issues and other disabilities. They also worried about meals, security and other services after the assisted living de-certification is complete in mid-December.

    But officials from Iowa’s Department of Inspections and Appeals and Department of Human Services said they would be monitoring to make sure residents receive care, medication and other services until the transition is made. Some services can be covered by Medicaid and Medicare if a resident doesn't need an assisted living facility.

    “My understanding is that they got a call from Brightstar saying they are out of business,” said Dave Werning, a spokesperson for the inspections department. “They have contracted with a temporary contractor for the time being. Our concern is that they continue to receive services until they’ve been relocated. Those who have to be relocated will be relocated.”

    Werning said Iowa’s Long Term Care Ombudsman was also assisting with residents’ transitions.
Source: Elderly may be forced to move before Christmas.

For a story update, see Iowa developers twice stripped elderly services after getting millions in tax credits:
  • Father-and-son developers from Iowa City have received more than $26.4 million in federal tax credits to provide affordable assisted-living care for Iowa seniors — but they twice have decided to pull services and eliminate oversight of their facilities, state agency records show.
    ***
    The contractual agreement hinged on a promise that the licensed assisted-living center would offer support services to seniors for 50 years, according to the Iowa Finance Authority, which approves the federal credits and oversees compliance.
    ***
    "This has been a nightmare for residents," said the Rev. James Craig, who has been trying to help members of his congregation at the center. "Even for those who can stay, this is creating major problems."

    Craig said he's been told by an administrator that about 44 units are filled at the 64-unit facility, and all but 10 residents are trying to stay. Many of the residents are more than 80 years old and have dementia and other health problems, he said.

    "Most thought this would be their forever home when they moved in," he said.

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