EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — An East Providence nursing home could displace dozens of elderly residents if they can’t secure more funding. Linn Health and Rehabilitation CEO Richard Gamache said it has been struggling with rising costs, and now they’re pleading for help. “Linn Health and Rehabilitation is in financial trouble,” said Gamache.
“During COVID, expenses in nursing homes shot up across the board and during COVID, we were getting subsidies form the federal and state government. Now those subsidies are gone and our expenses have gone up.” The more than 50-year-old nonprofit nursing home houses more than 70 elderly and low-income residents, employing more than 150 staff. “We also have outpatient rehabilitation. We have other services running out of this building.” Gamache said the rising costs of food and utilities have created financial burdens, forcing them to operate on a month to month basis. “We along with some of our other nursing homes in the state of Rhode Island are really hanging on by our fingernails, struggling to survive, and trying to make it,” said Gamache.[We’re] losing $100,000 a month. You can imagine, it’s just the math doesn’t work.” Linn Health & Rehabilitation Administrator Jamie Sanford said the facility is also experiencing a gap in the Medicaid reimbursement rate. The management team said expenses have increased by close to 35% and the reimbursement has gone up about 8%.
“We get on average $255 per day, per Medicaid resident and the cost of caring for a Medicaid resident is $411 a day,” said Sanford. “So we’re really, essentially losing our shirts right now…robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Gamache said the state government’s current plan to fix this issue will not kick in until Oct. 2024. The CEO said he has spoken to the governor and other state leaders, proposing solutions like “Bridge money,” to hold them over. The state told them they are discussing options, but they can’t make any promises.
Residents like Paul L. Tremblay said he can’t afford to wait that long. “I don’t want to go anywhere else. I really don’t,” said Tremblay. Like most residents at Linn, Tremblay, a former Tremblay said if this nursing home is gone, he will not have a place to go. “They do everything. They give me my pills right. They give me my insulin right…this place is my home,” said a tearful Tremblay. He and other residents held a special bake sale to help, raising about $2,000, but the money is not enough. The facility said they don’t want to displace residents and layoff employees, so they plead with the community to donate, waiting on the state or someone to gift them a Christmas miracle. “We’re part of a continuum of care…attached to this building is assisted living and independent housing,” said Gamache. “So, people… as they age and as their needs change…we want to be able to continue to meet their needs.” Gamache said there are other state nursing homes that have told him they do not have the funds to operate until next October. nurse, requires skilled care.