Nursing facility residents forced to relocate

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. - Residents of a Bradenton nursing and rehabilitation facility have learned they have to find a new place to live in less than a month. A hand delivered letter to each resident of the Riverfront nursing and rehabilitation center informs them the 110-bed facility will be suspended from the Florida Medicaid Program.

Medicaid residents choosing to stay may have to pay up, or get out.

“It terrified me, because I have to figure out what to do now, and I'm scared,” says Linda Hopkins. “My mom is 89 and she's been here since August.”

Hopkins’ mother is one of many who received a letter Tuesday informing them they have little time to relocate if they are on Medicaid.

“ACHA came into our building yesterday, and they gave each resident a copy of the letter stating that Medicaid was not going to be funding our facility after May 15th. Social Service Director of Riverfront, Diane Belyea, says it’s neither a care nor financial issue. “It’s a legal issue that has to do with the license of the facility.”

And Hopkins says her soon to be displaced mother is on the road to recovery and she was hoping for more time. “She couldn’t walk or talk or feed herself or dress herself when she came in. She had a stroke and she can walk, she can talk, she can go out to dinner.”

Belyea says it’s a very difficult situation. “I’ve talked to twenty eight families alone this morning, along with comforting the residents.”

She says a large percentage of the 110-bed facility are affected. “I believe it’s around 89 residents.”

The building, she says, is not closing. “There is not one staff member, not one management team member that will not be in this building almost 24-7 to be here to help the families.”

Belyea says Riverfront’s attorneys and AHCA attorneys are working to solve the issue. She hopes for a resolution by the 15th and is encouraging families to hold on for now. As the discharge planner, she is helping families in any way she can to get them to facility of choice if that is what they want.

So far only two residents have left.

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