Provider downsizing halted amid state ombudsman concerns over moving frail residents

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A plan to downsize a Michigan nursing home that led to public outcry is on hold, according to the facility's CEO.

In January, the Harold and Grace Upjohn Community Care Center in Kalamazoo announced its plans to move 42 residents out of their home as part of an overall facility overhaul.

But the state's Long Term Care Ombudsman's office called the plan unacceptable, citing a federal law that limits reasons for which residents can be evicted.

“None of those circumstances apply in this case,” Alison Hirschel, legal counsel for the Ombudsman's office, told Michigan Radio. “And so we're deeply troubled that very fragile residents are being forced to leave when it doesn't appear it meets any of the federal or state requirements for an eviction.”

Hirschel said some nursing home residents already left the Upjohn Center without being told they had the right to appeal an involuntary move. The radio station reported the affected residents are mostly in their 80s and 90s, and one is receiving hospice care.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said it had not  formally identified any non-compliance.

The Upjohn Center, part of the larger Heritage Community, is proposing a reduction in licensed bed capacity and the provider has cooperated with the licensing agency's review, officials said.