A recent article in UT San Diego broke the news that Palomar Health will be closing its Escondido nursing home in October 2013. As a result, more than 80 residents will be displaced, and 130 staff members will face layoffs. What led to the decision? According to an official at the health system, Medi-Cal funding cuts and “coming off a difficult fiscal year” are two major factors that are forcing the facility to close its doors in just a few months.
News of this nursing home closure raises concerns about nursing facility overcrowding and affordability in the southern California area. If you have questions about nursing homes in our area or are concerned that your loved one is suffering nursing home neglect or abuse, an experienced injury attorney can discuss your claim with you today.
Palomar Continuing Care Center—Facility Details
Palomar Health is a large health system that provides a variety of care for patients of all ages in its facilities, which have multiple locations in southern California. The Palomar Continuing Care Center, the nursing home that is set to close, is located on Avenida Del Diablo in Escondido. It’s a 96-bed skilled nursing facility that’s affiliated with Palomar Medical Center.
In addition to providing long-term care for adult patients in need of sustained services, it also offers supportive rehabilitation services. These services are designed to “improve function and ability to the highest level possible.” In anticipation of closing its doors this autumn, the facility made the decision to stop taking new patients on July 1st.
According to Steve Gold, the chief officer for post acute care at Palomar, the primary issue is “the state’s elimination of special reimbursements for nursing homes run by hospital systems.” In fact, Palomar likely faces a $3 to $4 million penalty of sorts—it will have to give back some of its funds, since that cash was subject to a “clawback” provision in the California budget.
In addition to the “clawback” provision that will strip the nursing facility of some of its money, Palomar Health is also dealing with the financial burden of creating a $956 million 11-story hospital that will be located in west Escondido. As if the situation couldn’t get worse, the health care system is facing Medicare reimbursement cuts.
Finding Another Nursing Home?
Do you have a loved one who currently resides at Palomar Continuing Care Center? Where can you go if you want to make sure your elderly relative remains in a skilled nursing facility in the San Diego area? For many families, this will be a very difficult decision. And for many patients who currently live at the Escondido facility, finding alternate placement will not be easy. In fact, nearly 30 of the facility’s current patients “require feeding tubes or expensive medications or have suffered a traumatic injury.” In many of these difficult cases, private facilities are not willing to take on such patients.
Although Palomar Continuing Care Center will close in October, Palomar Health does plan to keep another nursing facility in operation. According to UT San Diego, “Villa Pomerado, a 129-bed facility attached to Poway’s Pomerado Hospital, will remain open despite a similar funding gap.”
Why keep Villa Pomerado open but close the skilled nursing facility in Escondido? According to Gold, Villa Pomerado is a newer facility. And in addition to skilled nursing, it also provides more short-term rehabilitation business, which “is critical to getting patients out of even-more-expensive hospital beds.”
Aside from Villa Pomerado, the only other health system in San Diego County that operates its own nursing home is Sharp HealthCare. This past spring, Sharp and Palomar partnered to support a California bill that “would have restored funding for the facilities,” but Gov. Jerry Brown indicated that he plans to veto that bill if it passes.
In the meantime, the California Department of Public Health said that “finding a new home for nursing home residents is Palomar’s responsibility.” October is still several months away, but if you have questions about your legal rights when it comes to nursing facilities in the San Diego area, contact a licensed nursing home lawyer today.
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