The Massachusetts skilled care industry has been beset with problems and it’s been especially evident at one county-owned nursing home.
Local officials had a heated exchange last week as they tried to figure out what to do with the Taunton Nursing Home, which has lost money the past three years and is currently running an $860,000 deficit. County officials voted Nov. 20 to begin devising an “exit strategy” in the event that they need to close the 100-bed facility, the Taunton Daily Gazette reported.
Heavily reliant on Medicare, they’re holding onto a last-ditch effort of getting accredited by the Joint Commission to hopefully open up further payment streams. But even then, it would likely only break even.
“There’s no way financially that this nursing home is going to make money … I’d like to see it stay open, but I just don’t see how,” said Theresa Swartz, who is head of the nursing home’s board of directors. “We’re dying a slow death here, every year.”
Ongoing fiscal problems for the Massachusetts provider include a decline in the number of Medicare residents at the facility, along with federal subsidies that have been distributed on a calendar-year basis, rather than the nursing home’s fiscal schedule. It lost $1.3 million as recently as fiscal 2016, with smaller deficits the next two years.
Advocates worry about the impact the closure may have on its 60 residents and the surrounding community, which is in Bristol County, about 40 miles south of Boston. But Mayor Thomas Hoye said the city can’t keep shouldering the burden of the facility.
“I don’t see [the deficit situation] turning around, despite everyone’s best efforts,” he said, according to the Daily Gazette. “Unfortunately, it is a financial decision, but that doesn’t mean we ‘hate’ the elderly. As CEO of the city, I have to say ‘enough is enough’ at some point.”