Jun. 24—NEW ALBANY — A skilled nursing facility in New Albany has given the state notice it intends to close in mid-August, and adult care advocates want to make sure residents and their guardians know their rights.
New Albany Nursing and Rehabilitation, a 122-bed facility that is half-occupied now mostly by residents on Medicare or Medicaid, will shutter Aug. 15, the Indiana Department of Health and Indiana Longterm Care Ombudsman confirmed Thursday. Both agencies were notified June 15 by Chosen Healthcare, a company based in Fishers, Indiana, with 14 facilities in Indiana and five others in Iowa and Texas.
The facility on Elm Street in New Albany is the second in Indiana in a week owned by Chosen Healthcare to have confirmed pending closure. On June 16, the Albion New Era reported that North Ridge Village Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Albion would close on the same day, causing 39 residents to move to other facilities.
A New Albany Nursing and Rehabilitation representative confirmed late Thursday morning that there were 64 residents at the facility but did not comment further. A complaint investigated in April by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid indicated that of the 59 residents there at that time, 55 used Medicaid and four used Medicare.
A voicemail left with human resources at Chosen Healthcare was not returned Thursday, nor were two emails sent to its director.
Indiana code states that before a nursing facility closes, the company that owns it must give 60 days' notice to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Indiana Department of Health, state Long-term Care Ombudsman, residents, their legal representatives and any other responsible parties.
Unless things like concern for residents' health or safety call for a faster move, the company also must give residents 30 days' notice before relocating them to another facility of their choice.
But early Thursday afternoon, nine days after the state was given notice, what appeared to be staff and others were observed loading boxes onto a U-Haul truck parked next to the facility on Elm Street.
Three older adults in wheelchairs were loaded into a bus marked "Hanover Nursing Center," which left the property just before 3. Hanover Nursing Center is also owned by Chosen Healthcare and is about an hour away from New Albany in Jefferson County. Neither New Albany Nursing and Rehabilitation or Chosen officials provided information about whether those residents were moving to Hanover Nursing Center.
Lynn Clough, director of the Indiana Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, confirmed the state agency received notice June 15 from Chosen Healthcare and said when this happens, they send out a letter to facilities letting them know how to proceed.
"We ask them to follow some steps to make sure they're assisting residents and to make sure they're dong the best they can by the residents," she said when reached Thursday.
This includes sending weekly updates on the discharge process, including the names of residents and where they were being transferred and a weekly roster so the ombudsman can respond quickly to the needs of any resident.
Clough said that although there is a vacancy in the local ombudsman office, her deputy has been in talks with the company and had not been notified that any of the residents were already moving and had not had an opportunity to meet with them beforehand.
"We ask that the facility let us know when they are going to be holding meetings with the group of residents to let them know that the facility is going to close, because the local ombudsman would like to be there and help answer questions," she said.
"So we have been waiting for the information to come from New Albany as far as the residents, but we really haven't gotten a chance to get in there and meet with the residents prior to some of them moving out," she added when told about the activity at the facility Thursday.
Katie Morgan, president of Vulnerable Adult Care Advocates, Inc., a Floyd County-based nonprofit that provides help to older adults, said that in transitions like this, she wants to make sure residents, their guardians and families understand their rights.
"Particularly if a facility is closing, the patient is to be given adequate enough opportunity to find another facility because they're allowed to have complete autonomy with their whole care plan," she said.
The News and Tribune reported in April that New Albany Nursing and Rehabilitation had been one of two facilities in Floyd County to be previously given one star by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, based on inspection reports, staffing and quality-of-care measures.