Saturday, July 01, 2017

Numerous Regulations, Declining Cost-Based Reimbursements, Tightened Financial Pressures Force Hospital To Close Its Skilled Nursing Home Unit; 23 Patients Face Relocation, Two Dozen Employees Await The Boot

In Carthage, New York, WWNY-TV Channel 7 reports:
  • Carthage Area Hospital is closing its skilled nursing unit. The move means 23 people must find a new place to live, and two dozen employees need new jobs.

    The skilled nursing unit is basically a small nursing home within the hospital. Closing the skilled nursing unit is expected to take several months.

    Hospital officials received permission to close from the state Department of Health late Friday afternoon. They were notifying residents of the unit, their families and unit employees Friday night.

    The hospital plans to help move residents to other local facilities "whenever possible," according to a press release Friday night [June 16]. That includes Country Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre next to the hospital; Lewis County General Hospital's residential care facility; and Samaritan Health's nursing facilities in Watertown.

    “We are saddened that our residents will have to be relocated,” hospital chief executive officer Rich Duvall said in the press release.

    “Our team will help each resident and his or her family through this process in an attempt to make the transition as seamless as possible.”
    Why is the hospital closing the nursing unit, which has been open since 1965? In its statement, the hospital cited "numerous regulations" which have "tightened financial pressures." The hospital also said the unit is too small to take advantage of "economies of scale," and has suffered "declining cost-based reimbursement."

    Just two days ago, the hospital announced it's now operating in the black, for the first time in seven years.

    Hospital officials said Friday night that the Skilled Nursing unit lost about $100,000 in 2016. The hospital said it plans to concentrate on offering other services and will "repurpose" the space now occupied by the Skilled Nursing Unit, about 10 percent of the hospital, for other things. What those other things are was not clear Friday night.

    “Despite our unwavering commitment to quality resident care, it has grown evident in recent years that we are unable to continue to operate the unit,” said Duvall in the written statement.

    “This decision, while heart-wrenching, will strengthen the long-term viability of Carthage Area Hospital for our communities and the many patients we serve.”