Another large D.C. nursing home to close its doors

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Sep 6, 2007 3:00 AM
by Michael Neibauer, The Examiner
WASHINGTON (Map, News) – The second-largest nursing home in D.C. is on the verge of shutting its doors, forcing 234 patients into yet undetermined 24-hour care facilities and placing major stress on area services for the elderly, officials said Wednesday.

The proposed closure of the Grant Park Care Center in Northeast has sparked dread amongst the long- term care community, as it comes on the heels of the shuttering of what was then the city’s largest nursing home “” the 355-bed Beverly LivingCenter in Northwest.

There simply aren’t enough beds in the national capital region to assume Grant Park’s patients, meaning residents could be sent as far away as Pennsylvania or West Virginia, dislodging them from their families, said Jerry Kasunic, D.C.’s long-term care ombudsman.

“That right there is going to cause major problems,” Kasunic said. “It’s going to cause transfer trauma in the long run.”

In an Aug. 27 letter to DOH, lawyers for Grant Park accused the agency of obstructing and delaying the home’s closure. The health department “inappropriately and unlawfully interfered with the Facility’s business,” wrote lawyers with firm Reed Smith, who demanded the immediate approval of the discharge plan.

DOH is still working “to determine compliance” with the plan, according to a statement from the agency. The law requires that Grant Park “deliver a quality of care commensurate with residents’ needs and to engineer a safe transition that does not jeopardize the health or welfare of residents.”

The owners of Grant Park, a limited partnership, announced in April that they intended to close the facility by Aug. 1 “due to financial distress,” according to correspondence obtained by The Examiner. The District was unwilling to offer a higher Medicaid reimbursement rate to offset a loss of several hundred thousand dollars a month, Grant Park claimed.

Over the past five months, Kasunic’s office has overseen the movement of more than 300 patients from Beverly LivingCenter, with another 35 to go before that facility can permanently close. Roughly 100 people were moved in August in what Kasunic called a “down and dirty” discharge.

Washington Nursing Facility in Southeast became the largest nursing facility after patients were moved from Beverly LivingCenter earlier this summer.

Grant Park notes

» Facility claims Medicaid reimbursement rate fell from $183.55 per patient per day in Jan. 2006 to $171.34 in April 2007

» Additional D.C. beds may open up with the sale of Greater Southeast and the expansion of its nursing care program

» Grant Park has continued to accept short-term patients

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