Thursday July 6, 2017

Michaud Residential Health Services in Fulton to Close

Nursing home to shut down in face of insurmountable financial challenges

    Michaud Residential Health Services

    Officials at Michaud Residential Health Services, an 89-bed nursing home located in Fulton, announced that they are pursuing a plan to cease operations and close within the year.


    The New York State Department of Health has reviewed and approved a comprehensive plan of closure submitted on behalf of Michaud, according to Greg Osetek, director of community relations at St. Luke Health Services in Oswego.


    The DOH approved plan of closure includes a targeted closing date on or about Oct. 1.


    Michaud officials have begun the process of notifying residents and their families, staff and community partners of the decision to close the facility. There are 64 residents at Michaud.


    St. Luke Health Services purchased the nursing home from the county of Oswego in November 2005 and Michaud has operated as a nonprofit provider of skilled nursing and short-stay sub-acute rehabilitation for the last 11 years.


    “We have seen a steady decline in nursing home bed census county-wide for the last few years due to a number of factors, and we do not believe that this trend will change in the future,” Osetek said. “In this time Michaud in particular has experienced a significant decline in occupancy to the point that it has impacted our ability to maintain operations.”


    “Our board of directors and administration has evaluated all aspects of Michaud’s operations, including current and projected revenues and expenses. We see no reasonable likelihood that we can achieve financial viability, or make the significant investments that are necessary to deliver high-quality care on a sustainable basis,” Osetek added.


    In 2015, Michaud saw an operating loss of $362,000. In 2016, the facility experienced a loss of over a half-million dollars, according to Osetek.


    “This has been an extremely difficult decision for our board to make and have arrived here only after exhausting all other options we believe are available,” said Osetek. “Unfortunately, this reflects the realities of the changing health care industry locally and across our state.”


    “For Michaud in particular, hospitals and other referral sources are now choosing to direct patient discharges to providers with whom they have relationships, formally or informally. As a result, small, nonprofit, semi-rural providers like Michaud, which is geographically located between Oswego and a number of Onondaga County providers, is not receiving the volume of referrals necessary to sustain itself financially,” Osetek noted.


    Changing consumer preferences and government efforts to drive utilization of less expensive, non-institutional community-based services are among other factors cited by the Michaud board as contributing to the decision to close the nursing home.


    “We cannot continue this financial trend and be able to provide care and services to the community while sustaining ongoing operating losses, and our budget projections for this year are no better,” added Osetek.


    “We know this is a very difficult situation for all involved but especially for our residents and their families, some of whom have been in our care since we assumed operations in 2005, and who call Michaud home,” said Osetek. “We will not close until every resident has been relocated to a provider of their choosing, and we will work with that provider to help ensure that any transition is the least disruptive as possible.”


    There is 113 full-time or part-time staff at Michaud. Administration at Michaud will seek to provide qualified staff with transfer opportunities at St. Luke Health Services so that they can maintain their employment.


    Michaud will work directly with non-union employees, and will work with 1199 Service Employees International Union officials on behalf of union-represented employees to establish the terms for such transfers and to address the impact that the closing will have on its staff.


    Officials said the decision to close does not reflect the quality of care provided by staff. Ratings by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services place Michaud among the highest rated providers in Oswego County on their “Nursing Home Compare” website.


    Michaud’s administration will comply with state DOH guidelines and instructions during the closure process, and will work closely with health care providers and other parties to ensure that the community’s long-term health care needs are met throughout the process.


    In accordance with the closure plan, Michaud management has immediately begun working with residents and their families to begin to transition them to the most appropriate and qualified care setting for each individual, Osetek said.


    Relocation timing is dependent on each individual resident’s medical condition, preferences, and availability of appropriate alternative placement. Residents and families seeking further assistance can also contact ombudsman Joan Pierce at 315-676-2866 or Diane Adler at 315-963-7834.


    Information regarding closure plan progress will continue to be available to the public through the Michaud website at and through releases distributed to the media as may be needed by the organization.