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INH to sell two-thirds of bed rights



DEER ISLE — The Island Nursing Home Board of Directors has voted to sell about two-thirds of its bed rights, which will generate needed revenue as the board continues to explore options for the facility’s next steps, according to a press release issued by board Tuesday.

The board intends to keep about one-third of its bed rights, which can be used for skilled nursing care, residential care, or some combination of both, when and if it has the staffing needed to reopen.

“Island Nursing Home closed its doors just about a year ago,” said Island Nursing Home Board President Leon Weed. “The issue at the time was staffing and housing for staff, and the issues remain. If Island Nursing Home is going to reopen in any capacity, it will have to be with fewer beds, and a smaller staff. Selling off some of the bed rights will allow us to still exhaust every possible option for reopening, while generating the necessary revenue to continue to take care of the building, plan for necessary renovations, and operate under its ‘temporary closure’ status.

“Staffing continues to be the problem, but we will continue to have conversations with the communities served by Island Nursing Home, with the state, and with past employees to do everything possible to move forward.”

The board has been working for months to determine next steps for the skilled nursing care facility, which closed its doors late last year. Island Nursing Home is keeping about $1.1 million in bed rights, which would allow for approximately 18 skilled nursing beds, or 36 residential care beds, or some combination of the two.

“It is through continued conversations with the state that our board learned that we could use the remaining bed rights for residential care or skilled nursing care,” Weed said. “This understanding gives us a lot more flexibility in the months ahead for how we could potentially proceed. But, at the same time, we continue to hear of nursing homes closing, most recently in Caribou, Machias and Houlton.

“We also hear of staffing challenges not just in rural Maine, but in service centers throughout the state and the country. The staffing problem doesn’t appear to be going away. We continue to seek out options for staffing a skilled nursing facility and listening to those members of the community who are willing to discuss ideas.”

A recent analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) found that Maine ranks third in the country for facilities with staffing shortages. The data found that about 38 percent of Maine nursing care facilities have staffing shortages, trailing only Washington state and Minnesota. The staffing shortages continue to affect nursing homes, as about 300 have closed in the United States since the beginning of the pandemic, and about 400 more are expected to close by the end of this year. Nationally, the situation is bleaker. A survey released last month by the American Health Care Association found that 98 percent of nursing home operators are having trouble hiring, and 73 percent said staffing issues could force them to close.

A full board report and frequently asked questions about this situation can also be found at www.IslandNursingHome.org.

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