BALLSTON SPA – The Saratoga Center for Rehab and Skilled Nursing Care, which was formerly Saratoga County’s Maplewood Manor nursing home, will be closing.
The state Department of Health Thursday confirmed an announcement that initially came from state Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, R-Ballston, concerning the Ballston Spa nursing home.
“DOH has approved a plan submitted by the leadership of Saratoga Center for Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Care to close,” said DOH spokesman Jeffrey Hammond. “According to the approved plan, all of the residents will be relocated to other long-term care facilities as soon as possible.”
“DOH will monitor the facility as closure activities commence to help minimize the impact of this closing on the community, and to make sure every resident is relocated to an appropriate level of care,” Hammond added.
The facility at 149 Ballston Ave. has been in private ownership for the last five years. The county sold it to a private company after suffering multi-million-dollar losses annually while operating the home for aged and infirm.
The nursing home was put on a federal watchlist for patient care failures under the first private owner. The home changed hands in 2019, but it remains on the list. Officials at the home have noted that no residents have developed COVID-19, even though the virus has ravaged many nursing homes across the state and nation. (Some staff members have tested positive.)
A September report filed with the Department of Health found the 257-bed facility was only 35 percent occupied.
Walsh said she would be concerned about any plan to close the nursing home during a pandemic, and she has many questions.
“I am extremely concerned about the potential closure of the Saratoga Center for Rehab and Skilled Nursing Care, particularly in the midst of the current pandemic, and I am also concerned that I was not formally notified of this issue as one of the facility’s state representatives,” Walsh said. “The impact that COVID-19 has had on nursing home facilities, their patients and staff has been deeply troubling, and situations like this only raise more questions in a time of such continued uncertainty.”
Hammond said the closure plan requires the nursing home to remain open until the last resident has found another placement.
Walsh said she wants to be sure the families of residents are involved. “Moving a family member during a pandemic, whether in short-term or long-term placement, cannot be done hastily — especially given the conditions we currently face in these facilities,” she said.
The facility was operated by Saratoga County as Maplewood Manor from 1982 until the county sold it to Zenith Health Care in 2015 for $14.1 million.
DOH lists the facility as a Special Focus Facility by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — a designation for nursing homes whose quality of care has consistently demonstrated failure to maintain compliance, as well as a history of facility practices that have resulted in harm to residents, as measured by recent survey experience.