The owners of Marshall Lane Manor in Derby have filed paperwork with the state to close the facility.
Assuming the state approves the closure, 91 employees at the rest home will lose their jobs. The 99 residents who live there will have to find somewhere else to live.
A public hearing on the closure, which is required by state law, is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 13 at the facility.
Marshall Lane Manor has been at 101 Marshall Lane in Derby since 1973.
“It’s a financial situation,” Anthony F. Simonetti, the facility’s administrator, said Friday.
In a letter distributed by Simonetti Feb. 13, low occupancy rates, flat funding from Medicaid for seven years running and an inability to sell the property are listed as the reasons for the decision.
“The state is bankrupting facilities. They want to cut the number of beds in the state and that’s how they’re doing it. There has probably been 24 facilities closing in the last five years,” Simonetti said.
The state’s Department of Social Services oversees applications to close nursing homes and related facilities. The agency ultimately has the ability to stop the closure, though Simonetti said they never step in to do so.
According to Simonetti’s letter, Marshall Lane Manor, 120-bed facility, plans to submit a “certificate of need“ application to social services by March 2.
Social services has up to 90 days to make a decision on the closure.
No one living in Marshall Lane has to leave immediately. Families will be getting a list of options.
“We are giving them a list of facilities that are able to provide the same level of care for their loved ones,” Simonetti said.
Marshall Lane Manor also gave families three contacts to call for assistance:
- Nancy B. Shaffer, head of the state’s long-term care ombudsmen program, 860 424 5200.
- Dan Lerman, of the state’s long-term ombudsmen program, 203 974 3031.
- Patricia Kaplan, a lawyer with New Haven Legal Aid, 203 946 4811.
Marshall Lane Manor is the second long-term nursing facility in the lower Naugatuck Valley to start the closure process in two years.
Hilltop Health, on Ford Street in Ansonia, closed in 2013. About 100 people lost their jobs and 84 residents had to find a new place to live.
Marshall Lane Manor is a family-owned business. Simonetti lives in Shelton, where he is an Alderman and the Republican Party head.
“The staff is a great group of people. Some of them have been here 20 years. Some of them have been here 30 years. It’s just sad to see this has to happen,” Simonetti said.
Bottom-line problems started surfacing about two years ago, he said.
“We tried to cut costs, and do whatever we could, but it comes to the point now where we can’t do anymore,” Simonetti said. “And the costs to run a facility are going to go up quite a bit next year. They’re (regulators) are requiring everything be computerized, which is going to cost about $150,000. There’s a new regulation — anyone you hire has to be checked by the state police. That’s going to cost about $85 to $100 per person. They added on five-day mandatory sick leave. All these things add up.”
How much money is the facility losing?
“I can’t tell you that, but it’s a deficit and that is the problem,” Simonetti said.
Marshall Lane Manor employees are a non-union crew.
State Official Reacts
The Valley Indy reached out to the state Department of Social Services to react to Simonetti’s comment about the state bankrupting nursing homes.
What Simonetti called “bankrupting,” the state calls “diversifying the nursing home industry’s business model.”
Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administration has not been secretive of its goal of getting people out of institutions such as nursing homes and into home-based care programs, where professionals come to you.
The state has been trying to cut down its long-term Medicaid costs, which take up about 10 percent of the state budget, according to a 2013 article on the CT Mirror.
Getting people out of institutions is a way to bring down those costs and, advocates say, provide better assistance, especially if the person doesn’t require constant medical care.
Click here for a 2011 story from the CT Mirror about the state’s effort to “right size” nursing facilities.
David S. Dearborn, a spokesman for the Department of Social Services, said in an e-mail Friday there is less demand for nursing home care than there was 10 years ago. It’s a downward trend, he said, because of new alternatives to nursing homes. The state’s older population, though, continues to grow larger.
“Skilled nursing facilities have been under pressure over the past decade or more because there is, quite simply, less public demand for the level of services they provide,” Dearborn said. “At the same time, the state’s home-and-community-based care initiatives are providing more options for elders and people with disabilities.”
Simonetti’s business is actually an intermediate care facility, not a skilled nursing facility, under state classification. Simonetti said the designation further limits his facility’s ability to collect from the state.
Dearborn said there are 218 nursing homes participating in Medicaid in Connecticut, serving 17,000 Medicaid-eligible residents. A decade ago, there were 247 nursing homes serving 19,600 Medicaid-eligible residents.
“The number of facilities has declined, along with the number of residents in Medicaid,” Dearborn said. “Again, a sign of upswing of home-care alternatives.”
Dearborn provided data showing that “even with less demand overall,” the state’s Medicaid program still paid out about $1.2 billion to nursing facilities during the state’s 2014 fiscal year.
If It Closes, What’s Next For The Property?
If the state allows Marshall Manor to close — and, in all likelihood, social services will let that happen, Simonetti said — what’s next for the building and property?
That remains to be seen, Simonetti said.
In 2012, the Simonetti family closed Clintonville Manor, a rest home in North Haven, saying that facility had lost $1 million over three years.
Simonetti and partners are now looking to get that property rezoned so that a “high-end” assisted living facility can take control of the property.
“We’re looking to do something with the (Derby) property, but we haven’t had any bites, yet,” Simonetti said. “We can’t sell it the way it is because of the license, and you can’t get rid of the license unless you go through this procedure.”
Marshall Lane Manor pays about $64,000 in property taxes per year to the City of Derby, along with about $3,600 in personal property taxes.
The business pays about $29,000 per year to the city’s Water Pollution Control Authority.
The letter below was filed with the state: