It’s been just over a month since the Department of Health announced the Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehab would close its doors voluntarily, and the halls of the center have already fallen quiet. On May 3, the last patient was removed from the facility, which now lies empty.
After multiple non-compliance orders from the state dating back to 2007, the center found itself on the brink of being shut down in early April. Instead, the center signed a consent agreement to voluntarily close.
In the time between their consent and today, 78 patients have been relocated to new facilities.
Virginia Burke of the Rhode Island Healthcare Association said that residents were successfully relocated to facilities of their choosing.
“Each went where they wanted to go,” she said.
The Alliance for Better Long Term Care, which managed the closure for the Department of Health, could not be reached for comment before press time to confirm the ease with which patients were relocated.
Upon voluntarily closing, the facility did not have to return its license to the state.
“They have put their beds on hold,” explained Ray Rusin of the Office of Facilities Regulation at the Department of Health.
According to Rusin, the facility can keep their beds on hold indefinitely, though he said it wouldn’t be business-savvy to do so for too long.
In the meantime, the center will look for new ownership.
Deborah Norman, the woman who started a petition to have the state investigate the conditions at Pawtuxet Care and Rehab, said she is happy to see the patients relocated to someplace safe but is sad they had to be removed from the place they called home.
Norman’s father was a resident at the center for about 15 months before a medication overdose sent him into a 14-day coma. Norman’s father was taken to the hospital and his family was told he would be dead within a few weeks. Thankfully, he recovered, and was transferred to another nursing home.
But Norman didn’t stand idly by. Instead, she drafted a petition in late January to have the state investigate the conditions of Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehab. Norman gathered roughly 450 signatures, some of which belonged to employees of the center.
The petition prompted a state investigation that landed the center another non-compliance order, and eventually lead to the Department of Health’s intent to revoke their license.
Now the future of the facility is up in the air. A source says a company that was set to move forward with the facility’s purchase has backed off due to a mold infestation caused by flood damage.*
Rusin said the infestation has not been reported to HEALTH, but it is possible one has been discovered in the building’s vacant state.
Genesis ElderCare Network Services, Inc, the facility’s temporary managing entity since late March, declined comment on the mold issue or any pending sales of the facility.
If the facility is not sold to a new management company, there is a possibility the city will lose the beds licensed there, which number 130. A decade-old moratorium prohibits the licensure of new beds in the state.
*Editor's Note: We received an email from divisional maintenance manager of the center, Elmar Alikhanovon, May 16 that denied reports of mold:
"As far as [we] know there are no mold issues at PV... after the March 30 of 2010 flood the basement was entirely cleaned, sanitized... and tested by independent contractor for mold... There are no signs of any mold in building."