The drawers opened and closed. Garbage bags full of clothes, birthday cards and wallets. They had to leave.
Just like Judith Goodman, 95.
Goodman had called Brandon’s Raydiant Health Care his home for 13 years. The next day she would be gone.
“I feel awful – I don’t want to leave,” she said late last month as she watched her two daughters pack her things. “But what can I do?”
Residents of the 120-bed Tampa Bay nursing home learned in June that it was closing. They said they were told they had 30 days to find accommodation.
About half of its 87 residents left within a week of the announcement, according to a spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
On Wednesday, the nursing home became the last in Florida formerly affiliated with Consulate Health Care to lose federal benefits since May due to poor quality of patient care. Federal government views termination of Medicare and Medicaid as ‘last resort’, implemented only after ‘all other attempts’ have failed to address health and safety issues.
A bankruptcy filing and bad press have plagued Consulate — the state’s largest nursing home chain — for the past few years. The local retirement home, about 14 miles east of Tampa, appears to have changed hands at least twice since January. However, such corporate intrigue is only a secondary concern for vulnerable residents who are caught up in the fallout of the for-profit industry.
Goodman was sitting in her wheelchair next to her roommate’s bed. She and her roommate had spent the morning together as always.
At noon, the roommate had already moved out. Goodman wasn’t sure she would see her again.
‘A last resort’
The news fell during the bingo.
Residents recalled tears in the eyes of the care home administrator as she delivered the message June 21: In one month, the place would close. Residents suddenly found themselves looking for accommodation.
On the same day, the federal government said it would terminate Raydiant Health Care of Brandon’s health insurance contract, according to a letter saying it had not “met basic Medicare health and safety requirements.”
The nursing home can no longer receive money from the federal government for the services it provides. The loss of these payments often makes it difficult for a place to survive, as Medicaid pays the bills for more than half of all Florida nursing home residents. Individual costs can approach $80,000.
Follow the Tampa Bay headlines
Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter
We’ll bring you the latest news and information you need every morning of the week.
You are all registered!
Want more of our free weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s start.
Explore all your options
The administrator of Raydiant Health Care of Brandon did not respond to requests for comment on the loss of the federal contract or whether the nursing home plans to reopen.
The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which licenses nursing homes in the state, has not yet been notified that the nursing home plans to close permanently, according to the spokeswoman. the agency, Kayla McLaughlin.
A spokesperson for Raydiant Health Care’s reception in Brandon said new customers were no longer being accepted, including private-pay residents, as it was closing.
Problems have plagued the for-profit care home in recent years, inspection reports suggest.
Raydiant Health Care of Brandon currently has a one-star quality rating on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website, the lowest rating on a five-star scale given to nursing homes that receive federal money, earmarked for the poorest 20% of a state.
Some residents recall the night Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department deputies showed up as staff searched outside for a missing resident.
The woman was out of the House, according to subsequent federal and state inspections. The staff had not checked if the alarm systems were working.
It was December 27 2021, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office call records and federal inspection reports. The woman had wandered along a two-lane road and crossed a “dangerous intersection”, according to inspection reports. She was later hospitalized for unspecified medical conditions.
The nursing home did not properly document the woman’s disappearance, according to inspection records. Raydiant’s administrator at the time initially told inspectors the resident did not escape, saying she left after going offline against medical advice.
Since January, the house was cited for failing to keep accurate medical records, failing to administer medication on time, and breaking state law by allowing nursing aides to work over the legal limit before passing their certification exam, according to state and federal inspections.
In April, Raydiant agreed to pay the state $11,500 after the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration said staff failed to wear proper personal protective equipment in guest rooms. COVID-positive residents or monitored their symptoms for worsening illness in the previous year, according to the settlement agreement. The company has denied the allegations, according to the documents.
A June 10 inspection found the care home failed to report a resident had a fractured bone during a staff-assisted transfer from her bed to a shower chair. in March.
After that, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid decided to terminate Raydiant’s provider agreement, according to an agency spokesperson.
Change of ownership
Several residents and family members said that Brandon’s Raydiant Health Care recently changed hands. Some worried the federal government hadn’t given the new company enough time to prove it would handle the previous owners differently, though they said they didn’t know the identity of the new operator.
For years, Raydiant Health Care of Brandon went through Consulate Health Care of Brandon, a nod to its parent owner, Consulate Health Care.
The nation’s sixth-largest retirement home company, Consulate Entities filed for bankruptcy last year after the United States Court of Appeals upheld a multimillion-dollar fraud judgment against the chain, judging that several of his nursing homes had defrauded taxpayers.
Shortly thereafter, the Consulate renamed and divided its retirement homes in Florida between three companies, which appeared at still be affiliated with the channel. One of them, Raydiant Health Care, took over the Brandon location around the new year.
On April 1, the Brandon nursing home changed hands again, according to Jared Elliott, chief executive of Raydiant Health Care, and a change of ownership application submitted to the Agency for Healthcare Administration.
The proposed new owner is “Brandon Health OPCO LLC,” according to the request, a Delaware-based limited liability company first registered in Florida in late January.
The change in ownership has not yet been approved by the state, according to McLaughlin, the Florida health agency spokesman, who noted that the application “remains under review.”
The state agency’s website still lists the former limited liability owner of Raydiant — who registered a consular office in Georgia as his mailing address — as its current operator.
A tarp now covers the former sign of Raydiant Health Care in Brandon.
It reads “Brandon Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation”.
“Like a ghost town”
The buses arrived on June 24, said Karen Thiele, 61. They loaded bags and residents and transported them to new nursing homes.
“It’s literally become like a ghost town here,” Thiele said. “They evacuated them so quickly – there was a lot of tears and a lot of confusion. I was surprised there weren’t more families here to help with the transition.
Thiele leafed through a small notebook as she spoke. Inside were the phone numbers she had tried to collect from friends before they left.
“All my friends here are over 90, and a lot of them don’t take it well,” Thiele said. “That’s the main thing that breaks my heart – I’m afraid they won’t last long in their new places.”
In her ninth decade of life, Judith Goodman began another day of moving in. She started life in a nursing home 2 miles south of Raydiant, less than a week after the announcement. The new location is currently on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid’s “specialty facility” candidate list, a designation reserved for nursing homes that fail to meet the agency’s safety requirements after multiple inspections.
When Goodman left her old retirement home, she thought of her husband of half a century, who died in 2006.
“I hope Julius knows where I am now,” she said.