The financial strain caused by COVID-19 is forcing a Muskegon nursing home to close its doors. In a press release issued Thursday, management said Sanctuary at the Park was less than half-full due to a reduction in hospital transfers.
“Sanctuary at the Park was built and staffed for 99 residents, but currently is only caring for a very small number of individuals,” said administrator Julie Winkle, in the release. “This decline in residents and reduced hospital referrals due to COVID-19 make it unsustainable to continue operations.”
The facility has stopped admitting patients and will close August 24th. According to the release, the remaining 43 residents will be transferred to one of “many options for new living accommodations.”
Sanctuary, which is owned by Trinity Health Senior Communities, declined an interview request.
Melissa Samuel is president of the Health Care Association of Michigan, an industry group that represents nursing homes (but not Sanctuary). She says revenues are dropping at homes across the state, and that recovery will lag as hospitals re-open.
“It’s gonna be a process of hospitals coming online, and then, you know, the community and everybody being comfortable with the long-term care settings again,” she said.
HCAM is requesting $125 million from the state to help cover the costs of increased staff wages, personal protective equipment, and fewer residents paying for services. The association says skilled nursing facilities have already received approximately $240 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Samuel says she doesn't know of any HCAM members that have had to close. But she says more closures are possible, and may lead to people not getting the care they need.
“You can quickly run into an access issue,” she said. “So you have to be mindful of it. And that’s why this support [from the state] is critical.”