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Island care facility is closed
After a month-long ordeal and an emotional move for many residents, the state closed Mercer Island Care and Rehab on schedule, Thursday, July 3. The private nursing home, operated by the national company Videll Healthcare, had its license revoked in June after an investigation revealed financial troubles that on more than one occasion led to food shortages and disrupted the delivery of medical supplies.
Patients went to facilities scattered throughout the region. Some have been discharged to family members. Still others went to adult family homes or assisted living facilities. Bennetta Shoop, field manager for the Department of Health and Human Services (DSHS), said each was given at least one alternative to choose between.
“I'm sure there have been bumps in the road because this is not an easy process to take care of,” she explained. "But we haven't specifically heard any [complaints] about this particular discharge.”
Eleven patients were still choosing between placements as of Tuesday afternoon. On Thursday, the building was closed.
“The operations at MICR have steadily declined over the years,” said Molly Nielson, the daughter of June Mulcahy, who had been a patient at the facility for six years before she passed away shortly after MI Care and Rehab received notice of its closure. “[There] were no care conferences which used to happen a few times each year, where you would sit down as a team, assess the care plan and what could be improved for the residents’ quality of living. There were times when the back patio would be a wasteland of old hospital beds, wheelchairs, and the grass would be uncut for weeks. It was terrible to look at and a shame that residents with a large window in their room to a very pretty green space would have it cluttered with debris.”
Nielson said the move was equally devastating for many loyal employees of the care facility, who she credits with keeping the facility afloat, despite obvious financial troubles.
“The state has no responsibility, if you will, to find work for those displaced workers,” said Shoop, though she said Prestige, the temporary management agency overseeing the closure of Mercer Island Care and Rehab, had connected former employees with job fairs and inquired about openings at other facilities.
“I believe there has been some transitional movement that way,” said Shoop, “but I don't know much about it or what the bottom line is of the staff transition.”
Videll Healthcare did not appeal the state's decision to revoke its license.