In a sudden and distressing turn of events, the largest skilled nursing facility in St. Louis, Northview Village Nursing Home, closed abruptly, leaving around 170 residents displaced and uncertain about their future. The shutdown unfolded after workers, numbering more than 130, discovered they might not be paid and subsequently walked out, causing confusion and distress among residents and their families.
The abrupt nature of the closure caught many off guard, with family members gathering outside the facility, unaware of the whereabouts of their loved ones. Alvin Cooper of East St. Louis, Illinois, shared his concerns about his 35-year-old son, Alvin Cooper Jr., who had been residing at Northview Village while recovering from a gunshot wound to the head and a drug addiction. The closure left families anxious and searching for information about the well-being of their relatives.
The troubles began when over 130 employees went unpaid, leading to uncertainty about the receipt of their overdue paychecks. Marvetta Harrison, a certified medical technician with 37 years of service at the facility, expressed her frustration, stating, “This is real wrong. Not only did they mistreat us, they mistreated the residents we take care of.”
Northview Village has faced federal violations, with fines totaling over $140,000 since March 2021, as reported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The facility has received a one-star rating out of a possible five, highlighting concerns about its operational standards.
The closure has raised questions about the well-being of residents, some of whom arrived at other care facilities without proper documentation of their medical histories or medication needs. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services was notified of the closure, and an evacuation plan was implemented to relocate residents to alternative nursing homes.
Marjorie Moore, the executive director of VOYCE, an agency serving as an ombudsman for long-term care residents and their families, emphasized the unexpected and disruptive nature of the shutdown. Shuttle buses transported residents to various facilities across the St. Louis area, with many leaving the facility with only the clothes they were wearing.
Northview Village, licensed for up to 320 beds, served as a vital safety net for residents, including those on Medicaid and those with behavioral problems. The closure not only raises concerns about the immediate well-being of the displaced residents but also the broader challenges associated with their long-term care.
As families grapple with the aftermath of this crisis, questions about the financial stability and management of Northview Village remain unanswered. The sudden closure has left both employees and residents facing uncertainty during the holiday season, underscoring the vulnerabilities within the healthcare system that impact the lives of those in long-term care facilities.