RI veterans home population down 17% due to COVID-19 concerns


BRISTOL, RI (WPRI) – The RI Veterans Home has seen a steady decline in population in recent months as nearly 30 residents have died or been discharged at the same time the state has stopped admitting new residents to the the middle of the pandemic.

The drop in the number of residents includes five residents who died after contracting COVID-19, according to spokeswoman Meghan Connelly, who said there are currently 164 residents living in the war veterans nursing home. That’s 17% lower than the 192 residents reported in January.

“Historically, the household has averaged five resident losses / exits per month and the current census count reflects this trend,” Connelly said in an email.

Connelly said the last resident positive for COVID died on June 6. The first death was reported on May 7. RI’s health ministry reported on Monday that the outbreak had between 15 and 19 residents currently positive for COVID, with no new cases in the past 14 days.

The stalk of new cases is a welcome sign at the state-run facility, as similar facilities in other states struggle to keep the disease at bay. In Massachusetts, a scathing new report this week showed how incompetent leadership exacerbated an outbreak at Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, where more than 75 residents have died.

Rhode Island’s declining population, however, comes at a cost to the facility, which struggles to balance its budget for months. Governor Gina Raimondo’s revised budget – which she recently enacted – estimated that the state would receive $ 100,000 less in federal reimbursement due to the shrinking population.

And it’s not the only nursing home in the state facing money problems, as Hallworth House, a 57-bed nonprofit nursing home on the East Side of Providence that has opened. its doors in 1968, said it had filed a plan with the Department of Health and expects to close by the end of August.

“The facility had lost over $ 1.3 million over the past two years while maintaining high standards of care, but the COVID-19 pandemic made prosecution impossible,” said Dr Patricia Nolan, chairman of the board of directors of Hallworth House, in a statement. .

The owner of Hopkins Manor in North Providence earlier this year filed for legal protection, claiming the nursing home is suffering financial losses amplified by COVID-19 that could bring the business to the ground.

The retirement home avoided closure by successfully going into receivership, which resulted in a sale of $ 14.5 million to private equity firm Tryko Partners. The company, which also owns the Elmhurst Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Providence, will rename the North Providence facility “Lincolnwood Rehabilitation and Health Care Center”.

In Bristol, the Veterans Home is made up of six ‘quarters’ divided into two ‘cottages’, each with 16 resident beds. When asked if any of the cabins were closing due to the contraction in the number of residents, Connelly said no, but they were consolidating their business.

“The recent movement of residents of Rhode Island Veterans Home from one neighborhood to another is due to the COVID-19 quarantine and isolation measures,” Connelly said. “Consolidating residents while the census is lower also allows for efficiency in operations and staffing during the period that the home is closed to new admissions. “

There are currently 145 people on a waiting list to enter the house, according to Connelly. The house stopped accepting new residents on March 13, according to budget documents.

Tim white ([email protected]) is the Editor-in-Chief of Target 12 and Chief Investigative Journalist at 12 News, and the host of Newsmakers. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook

Eli Sherman ([email protected]) is an investigative reporter for WPRI 12. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Ted Nesi contributed to this report

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