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Relocation of nursing home residents continues

Dept. of Health expects move to be completed Friday

BURLINGTON — The Ohio Department of Health said relocation of residents continued on Friday, following the sudden closure of River’s Bend Health Care on Thursday.

The nursing home announced it was closing on Thursday, as it could not make payroll and the Department of Health mobilized an inter-agency team to help move the more than 50 residents at the home to other facilities in the region.

J.C. Benton, a spokesperson for the department, said they have been working with the Ohio Department of Aging and Medicaid to move the residents from the location at 335 Jefferson Avenue in Burlington.

“We have about 14 left to move,” he said. “And we expect that to happen before the end of the day.”

He said the nursing home should have contacted the department within 90 days of a closure.

“We’ve done 90 days of work in a day and a half,” he said.

Employees at the facility have said they have not been paid by the company.

Benton said remaining staff from the facility have assisted in the move.

He said any action that could possibly be taken against the facility due to the situation would have to wait.

“We would have to look into that after the dust settles,” Benton said.

Ursel McElroy, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, said the agency shared in the concerns the disruptions caused for residents and families.

“We are working together with community, state and federal resources to assist in the transfer of residents to other long-term care facilities or to return them to homes,” she said in a statement. “The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Ohio Department of Veterans Services and the Ohio Department of Medicaid are also providing key assistance.

She said all residents who have moved would have a personal meeting with an ombudsman and their families, to be sure their needs are met.

“We are working in a collaborative manner with one goal — to have all residents of River’s Bend safely relocated today,” McElroy said.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program is available at 1-800-282-1206.

“We are grateful to the residents’ families who have also responded quickly and assisted with identifying alternate living arrangements, helping to pack and move their loved one’s belongings,” McElroy said. “We also acknowledge that several of River’s Bend staff members are working without compensation to provide care and assist residents during this time.”

The Tribune reached out to the River’s Bend Health Care, but they were unwilling to comment on the situation.