Members of a group working to keep the Mobridge Care and Rehabilitation Center from closing Jan. 31, 2019 have more of a hill to climb as of Thursday, Dec. 6, with new documents filed in Hughes County Court.
The hearing for the closing request by Black Hill Receiver, LLC (BHR) is Thursday, Dec. 20, in Hughes County.
On Thursday, more documents were filed dealing with the request. The first and most significant to Mobridge and Madison residents is the South Dakota Department of Health’s (DOH) response to the motion to close those facilities. The filing states “The South Dakota Department of Health, Interested Party, does not object to the Plaintiffs’ motion seeking approval to close the nursing homes it operates in Madison and Mobridge.”
This could mean efforts to keep the facility open have been struck a considerable blow unless the court decides to grant officials in Mobridge and Madison more time to find solutions to the issue of closing these facilities.
The second document filed is an affidavit from Tom Martinec, deputy secretary of the DOH. It states that Black Hills Receiver, LLC, has been in communication with the DOH. It states that the plans for closure that have been filed are sufficient, and “there is sufficient capacity in other South Dakota facilities for the residents who will be displaced by the closures.”
The document also states that the Department of Human Services would assist residents in finding alternative placements.
“There is nothing we can do with the state to get us a few more months. We don’t have the grounds to intervene with the closing,” said Michele Harrison, executive director of Mobridge Economic Development. “We have been working on it, but I don’t think there is anything more we can do.”
On May 1, 2018, nineteen South Dakota healthcare facilities formerly operated by Skyline Healthcare affiliates were placed in receivership with (BHR) in an effort to stabilize their operations. In documents filed in Hughes County Court on Nov. 13, the day before announcing the closure of nursing facilities in Madison and Mobridge, Black Hills Receivership, LLC, stated the 19 nursing facilities are “operating at a significant and unsustainable loss.” The firm stated in those documents that by the end of the year, the combined loss for the 19 facilities would be around $7.7 million. In the filing it is stated that BHR does not believe that there is any way to generate sufficient funds to cover the expenses for operating the Madison and Mobridge facilities in a cash-flow positive manner, and instead believes that the financial prognosis for Madison and Mobridge is very poor due to various operational difficulties, including difficulties with hiring and retaining permanent staff for those facilities (resulting in extremely high usage of temporary labor). By closing the two (Mobridge and Madison) with the most significant losses, the receiver hopes to maintain operations in other facilities. It was estimated in the court filing by the end of the year, the losses for these two facilities would be in excess of $1.2 million.
– Katie Zerr –