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Residents: Brookside to Close in November

  • Brookside Nursing Home in Hartford, Vt. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/22/2017 12:43:04 AM
Modified: 10/23/2017 1:48:15 PM

White River Junction — Residents of the Brookside Health and Rehabilitation Center are looking for new homes after learning last week that the 67-bed nursing home will close at the end of November.

Tom Ralston, the 62-year-old leader of the center’s Residents Council, confirmed on Saturday that center officials told residents of the impending closure during a meeting on Wednesday afternoon — five days after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced it would stop making payments for patient care at the 67-bed Christian Street facility starting Oct. 30.

“I applied to all the local places,” said Ralston, a former Wilder resident who is paralyzed from the armpits down and whose care is covered by Medicaid and Social Security. “I got put on their waiting lists.”

Staff members at Brookside, which was bought in 2015 by a New York-based group of real estate investors and nursing home operators, referred all questions about the closure to administrator Paul Kovacs, who they said would be available for comment on Monday.

Sam Love and Mayer Spilman, the owners of and investors in the group that also runs a 73-bed care center in Colchester, Vt., did not respond to emails on Saturday afternoon and evening.

In a news release on Oct. 13, CMS pointed to the nursing home’s “failure to meet Medicare’s basic health and safety requirements for skilled nursing facilities.”

The announcement followed a series of inspections, by the Division of Licensing and Protection at the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, that revealed deficiencies in food safety, levels of staffing and failure to ensure that patients saw their doctors regularly.

According to a state report in late summer, staff members failed to adequately supervise and assist 13 of the 39 patients living at Brookside on Sept. 5. Last week, the center posted an outdoor sign seeking registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and licensed nursing assistants.

In May, Dartmouth-Hitchcock stopped providing a physician to direct medical care at the center.

Among the patients who have been paying directly for their care is former Weathersfield resident David Fortin, who moved into Brookside about two years ago for what was supposed to be a rehab stint to recover from a foot infection.

At age 99 at the time and struggling to get around on his own, he decided to stay closer to his remaining friends in southern Vermont rather than move to Florida, Holly Martin, his daughter in that state, said on Saturday.

With the news of Brookside’s closing, Martin said, the family is now looking into other options in the region, including the Cedar Hill Continuing Care Community in Windsor and the Gill Odd Fellows Home in Ludlow, Vt.

“It’s, ‘Oh, gosh, here we go again,’ ” Martin said of the move. “I hate to do it to him. At 101, it’s hard to move. He has good relationships with a lot of the staff at Brookside. And I feel bad for everybody there, especially for a lot of the folks who are on various forms of aid. That’s their family. That’s their friends. That’s their life.”

Ralston, whose wife still lives at their home in Wilder, half a mile away from the nursing home, said that for all of Brookside’s recent problems, “there’s a lot that I’ll miss about it.”

“You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.




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