Finances force St. Mary’s Home closure

| November 3, 2010 | 0 Comments

St. Mary’s Home, a Catholic-affiliated senior housing facility in St. Paul, will close at the end of the year due to financial challenges, its parent organization, Franciscan Health Community, announced Oct. 20.

Franciscan Health Community will assist the Highland Park nursing home’s 70 residents in relocating, said Joe Stanislav, FHC president and CEO.

The organization also will provide outplacement and job counseling services to approximately 150 employees whose positions will be eliminated, he said.

The facility is set to close Dec. 31.

Franciscan Health Community’s Adult Day Services and Southwest Area Meals programs also will be eliminated Nov. 30 due to shared staff and facilities with St. Mary’s Home. Approximately 80 clients will be affected.

“This was an extremely difficult decision to make, but the current model of care is no longer viable given changes in health care funding combined with the costly improvements needed to our 74-year-old facility,” Stanislav said.

He cited as the primary reason for the closure a federal fire code mandate that would have required the installation of an elevator and sprinkler system and other updates to the facility totaling an estimated $2 million to $3 million.

In addition, Stanislav said, nursing homes across the country are experiencing severe economic challenges due to reductions in Medicaid and Medicare funding, state aid and the growing trend to provide more home-based services.

“This past year, we had 0 percent increase [in government funding],” Stanislav said.

Toby Pearson, executive director of Catholic Health Association-Minnesota, said if the state continues to cut or freeze reimbursement rates for nursing homes, more will likely close. Some have responded by adding long-term care and other services to provide a more financially stable “continuum of care,” he added.

Looking to the future

Ed Martini, chair of Franciscan Health Community’s board of directors, said in a press release that the organization is working to develop “a new model . . . that will better meet the health care needs of today.”

“For the last few years,” Stanislav said, “we’ve focused more and more on end of life care with our home care hospice and taking over sponsorship of Our Lady of Good Counsel Home [in St. Paul]. So our focus is turned there at least in the near term, and we’re working as a board to get a longer term vision.”

“However, we’re totally committed to the remaining projects at this point, and we’re going to still be here,” he added.

Since 1936, Franciscan Health Community has provided housing and health care services to help seniors live as independently as possible.

The organization is a participating affiliate of Catholic Senior Services, the outreach program created by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to meet the growing need for quality senior housing and services. It is a member of the Catholic Health Association, Aging Services of Minnesota and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.?


Category: Local News