Drawers opened and shut. Garbage bags filled with clothes, birthday cards and pocketbooks. They had to go.
So did 95-year-old Judith Goodman.
Goodman had called Raydiant Health Care of Brandon her home for 13 years. By the next day, she would be gone.
“I feel horrible — I don’t want to leave,” she said late last month as she watched her two daughters pack her belongings. “But what can I do?”
Residents of the 120-bed Tampa Bay nursing home learned in June that it was closing. They said they were told that they had 30 days to find places to live.
About half of its 87 residents left within a week of the announcement, according to a spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The nursing home on Wednesday became the latest in Florida formerly affiliated with Consulate Health Care to lose its federal benefits since May because of poor patient care. The federal government considers termination of Medicare and Medicaid a “last resort,” implemented only after “all other attempts” fail to resolve health and safety deficiencies.
A bankruptcy filing and bad press have plagued Consulate — the state’s largest nursing home chain — over the past few years. The local nursing home, about 14 miles east of Tampa, appears to have changed hands at least twice since January. Such corporate intrigue is a mere secondary concern, however, for vulnerable residents who are caught in the fallout of the for-profit industry.
Goodman sat in her wheelchair next to her roommate’s bed. She and her roommate had greeted the morning together like always.
By noon, the roommate had already moved out. Goodman wasn’t sure if she’d see her again.
‘A last resort’
The news broke during bingo.
Residents recalled tears in the nursing home administrator’s eyes as she delivered the message on June 21: Within a month, the place would close. Residents suddenly found themselves in need of housing.
That same day, the federal government said it would terminate Raydiant Health Care of Brandon’s Medicare contract, according to a letter, stating that it had failed to “meet Medicare’s basic health and safety requirements.”
The nursing home no longer can receive federal money for the services it provides. The loss of such payments often makes it difficult for a place to survive, as Medicaid pays the bills for more than half of all nursing home residents in Florida. Individual costs can approach $80,000.
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