UPDATE, 3:28 p.m.:
Here’s a statement from National Union of Healthcare Workers President Sal Rosselli:
The community has won a significant victory by preventing Brius and its CEO Shlomo Rechnitz from shuttering two of its nursing homes and transferring vulnerable seniors hundreds of miles to other facilities.
Still, we believe that Brius’ decision to close Pacific Rehab is a violation of its lease, a failure to follow through on a promise to repair the facility, and a betrayal of the community’s trust. Everything indicates that Brius threatened the closures to try to extract more money from Partnership HealthPlan. This is the height of irresponsibility. The community entrusted Brius with the care of our elders, and this multi-billion dollar company instead used them as bargaining chips to try to boost its corporate profits.
NUHW is proud to have played a role in this victory and looks forward to working with seniors, community leaders, and legislators to make sure Brius is held accountable for its actions. We encourage Shlomo Rechnitz to take all necessary steps to ensure that all Brius nursing homes are properly maintained and staffed with an adequate number of well-trained caregivers.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that this process has shone a spotlight on our seniors, who deserve dignity, high-quality care, and respect after spending a lifetime raising families and working in our community. We salute all of the family members, friends, and caregivers who work day in and day out to care for our elderly.
The Outpost received the following email this afternoon:
STATEMENT FROM SHLOMO RECHNITZ, BRIUS HEALTHCARE:
Today, we informed the California Department of Public Health that we are rescinding our closure plans for Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness Center and Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, and will only move forward with our closure plans at Pacific Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.
As a result of this request, no patients will need to be transferred out of the community. All patients at Pacific Rehabilitation and Wellness Center will be offered relocation at our other four local skilled nursing facilities.
It is important to understand how we got here, and how we have arrived at this decision.
Last year, our five skilled nursing facilities in Humboldt County began experiencing significant financial losses due to the lack of available health care workers in Humboldt County and the lack of adequate reimbursement.
To help drive recruitment, we raised salaries in November 2015 and January 2016, but our losses only multiplied. Five months ago, we approached all community stakeholders to seek solutions to the desperate problems of a staffing shortage that has negatively impacted not only us, but local hospitals and other healthcare providers throughout Humboldt County.
After months of searching for solutions and because the outlook for 2017 was more dire than 2016, we made the difficult decision to file closure plans for three of our local facilities. Despite efforts of some local officials and a local union to disparage us, we took efforts to work with everyone to ensure a safe and orderly transfer of our patients.
In the months since announcing these closures we have continued to attempt to work with others to come up with a different way out. However, it has become clear that the critical participants are not willing to do anything to solve these serious problems. After speaking at length with the patients, families and staff throughout Humboldt County, we have decided that despite the enormous financial difficulty that we will sustain as a result, there is no way we can close these facilities.
We won’t be a part of patients being forced to move 300 miles away simply because the system fails to appropriately pay for their healthcare.
In addition, as these facilities will continue to lose money, we will be establishing a charity foundation in Humboldt County for the care and treatment of the elderly to directly fund these losses. We will be working with local stakeholders to determine how we can better care for our elderly and ensure that they have the necessary care and services locally.
We appreciate the stakeholders that worked with us throughout this difficult process, and look forward to our continued work throughout Humboldt County.