After nearly a century of operation, the city of Philadelphia plans to close its only retirement home by the end of this year, citing fewer residents, continued losses and the cost of millions of upgrades needed to installation of the Fairmount section of the city, officials said Tuesday.
“While I am sad to see the Philadelphia nursing home close, the financial realities of long-term care and the impact of the pandemic mean it is simply not possible to continue operating such a large facility. with so many empty beds,” said Cheryl Bettigole, health commissioner for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
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The city’s decision will add to a list of 14 Pennsylvania nursing homes that have closed since the coronavirus pandemic devastated the industry killing scores of residents, leading to greater pressure to keep people away from facilities and increase costs for operators.
It also means that sick and vulnerable residents will have to find new accommodation. Openings at many nursing homes will make it easier to place residents in other facilities than in the past, officials said.
Some of the approximately 260 residents are expected to be sent home, with the help of home and community services. The city said no residents will be moved without a safe discharge or transfer plan. The city’s goal is to free all residents by October 28.
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At the end of May, only 65% of the Philadelphia Nursing Home’s 402 beds were occupied, compared to more than 90% in 2018. This projected loss at the nursing home for the year ending June 30 is $5.7 million, have said city officials. The nursing home employs 277 people, according to a spokesperson for a non-profit company, Fairmount Long Term Care, which has run the facility since 1994.
Medicaid, which pays relatively low rates, covers nearly all residents of the nursing home.
Among the investments needed for the nursing home are a $2.6 million boiler for heating and $4 million for a campus-wide generator, the city said. The state of Pennsylvania owns the facility, which was built in 1930, according to city records, and leases it from the city for $1 a year. The city has paid Fairmount to run it since 1994.
The city has budgeted $520,000 for Fairmount’s running costs in fiscal year 2022, said James Garrow, spokesman for the city’s health department, which oversees the retirement home. The city also provides a $3.2 million annual grant to the nursing home as part of its contract with Fairmount, he said.
It’s hard to get a clear view of the facility’s overall finances from the Medicaid cost reports that Fairmount files with the state, because the city keeps some of the revenue that the state provides to the house. retirement, according to a Fairmount spokesperson.
“We are saddened by the news of the Philadelphia retirement home closing, although we understand that given the declining census, the city’s decision was likely inevitable,” Fairmount said. “Our priority remains our residents to ensure they continue to receive the high quality care they receive from us and to ensure they are transferred to other facilities or community services.”
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The city said it hopes employees can easily find jobs at other health care facilities, given widespread labor shortages,
The Pennsylvania Department of Health received the city’s shutdown notice last week and is reviewing the plan.
The closure will add to a growing number of Pennsylvania nursing homes that have closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed thousands of Pennsylvania nursing home residents and made more and more harder for nursing home operators to make ends meet due to rising labor costs and other expenses.
Fourteen Pennsylvania nursing homes have closed since April 2020, including Fox Subacute in Warrington last month according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Other closed Philadelphia-area facilities are PowerBack Rehabilitation in Phoenixville and Wellington Court Nursing & Rehab in West Chester, the department said.