NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — More than 240 residents of five nursing homes in Southeastern Massachusetts will need to relocate as the state Department of Public Health closes down the facilities.
In a conference call Thursday morning, it was revealed that Bedford Gardens Care and Rehabilitation and Rockdale Care and Rehabilitation Center in New Bedford will close their doors by Friday, May 3, while three other facilities – Bedford Village and Rehabilitation Care in New Bedford, Highland Manor Care and Rehabilitation Center in Fall River, and Dighton Care and Rehabilitation in Dighton – will close by May 24, according to Grace Williamson, Bedford Village’s nursing supervisor.
All five nursing homes are owned by New Jersey-based Skyline Healthcare, which voluntarily surrendered its licenses for the facilities due to what health officials call ongoing operational problems.
The health department ordered the homes to stop taking patients earlier this week.
An administrator for Bedford Gardens said the facility has been short-staffed as of late because its workers were frustrated that their paychecks were late or bounced.
At Bedford Village, Williamson said their paychecks were late last week but the staff came to work unpaid for the residents’ sake.
“We’re not going to leave you,” Williamson said Thursday. “We’re going to be here with you guys until the very end.”
Some residents of Bedford Village tell Eyewitness News they’ve been living there for 10-20 years and now they’re unsure where they’ll end up. John Messier, who requires specialized care for cancer and Parkinson’s, will need to find a new home in just a few weeks’ time.
“Well, I’m doing the best I can to hold on and hope for the best,” he said.
Skyline has had legal and financial troubles in a number of other states where they’ve operated including Pennsylvania, Kansas and Florida.
Eyewitness News reached out to the health department, which said it’s working to answer our questions and address the nurses’ concerns. Officials said they’re working closely with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to monitor the situation.
Eyewitness News also attempted to contact Skyline Healthcare but the company’s listed phone number was disconnected and its website was down.
Anyone with a complaint or concern regarding the situation is asked to file a complaint with the health department.