Half of Detroit’s Nursing Homes May Close Next Summer

Nineteen of Detroit’s 32 nursing homes must upgrade or install sprinkler systems by next summer to be certified and continue to receive the funding they need to stay open, according to a new study on aging, long-term care and dying.

Detroit has lost 16 nursing homes in 13 years, and most are struggling to remain open.

Most of Detroit’s nursing home patients are covered by the state-run Medicaid system of health care for poor people. The facilities forgo federal Medicare dollars because they do not meet their certifications, a process that is costly and intense, though it could lead to millions more in reimbursements.

Todd Johnson, the administrator of Law-Den Nursing Home in Detroit, is unhappy with the sprinkler mandate, though he is installing new sprinklers to meet the requirements. He says the time between installation and reimbursement is what makes it hard to survive.

“You’re forcing me to spend $40,000 to $100,000, and you won’t be reimbursing me for two years?” Johnson said. “I’m running my building on a 2010 audit, so I’m not going to see that money for two years, and some nursing homes won’t survive that long.”

Johnson adds, “You’re always behind the gun, so while they’re giving you old money, you’re trying to meet new costs.”
Some of the information from this post was taken from a recent article by Rochelle Riley at the Detroit Free Press.