ST. LOUIS (AP) — The operator of a St. Louis nursing home needs to be held accountable after the facility was abruptly closed, sending 170 residents to other care centers with little more than the clothes on their backs, political leaders and workers said at a rally Tuesday.
Northview Village Nursing Home shut down on Friday, with shuttle buses brought in to take residents to more than a dozen other St. Louis-area care centers. Days later, some relatives still haven’t found where their loved ones were sent, and at least one manager said the Northview Village residents arrived at her nursing home without records or medication lists.
Some of those who spoke at the rally outside the shuttered nursing home said criminal investigations should be considered. St. Louis Alderwoman Sharon Tyus called for aldermanic hearings and said she has spoken to the circuit attorney about the possibility of an investigation.
Mayor Tishaura Jones said she was appalled by the way residents and workers were treated. About 180 people lost their jobs and still haven’t received their last paycheck.
“Are you angry? Because I’m mad as hell,” Jones said.
Northview Village is St. Louis’ largest nursing home. It is operated by suburban St. Louis-based Healthcare Accounting Services. A person answering phones said the company declined comment.
Two Democratic state senators from St. Louis, Karla May and Steven Roberts, said they’ve reached out to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to try and make sure that employees are paid and that residents’ rights are protected.
“We cannot put corporate greed over people,” May said.
The process of moving people out of Northview Village began after 4 p.m. Friday and continued into Saturday morning, said Lisa Cox, spokeswoman for the state health department.
Shamell King, an assistant manager at another nursing home, Superior Manor, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that some Northview Village residents arrived without paperwork documenting medical histories or medication needs.
Marjorie Moore, executive director of VOYCE, a St. Louis agency that serves as an ombudsman for long-term care residents and their families, said her agency is still trying to connect some displaced residents with their relatives.
Northview Village has been fined 12 times for federal violations since March 2021, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Fines totaled over $140,000 and ranged from $2,200 to more than $45,000. The federal agency gives Northview a one-star rating out of a possible five, but doesn’t spell out reasons for the fines.
Many of the nursing home’s residents are on Medicaid, and some have behavioral problems. Moore said that despite its troubled past, the nursing home has served as a “safety net” for poor and hard-to-place residents.
Hiedi Haywood, a certified medical technician at Northview Village, said residents were distraught as the center was closing. So, too, were workers, some of whom have spent decades there.
Haywood said many live paycheck-to-paycheck.
“It’s more than Christmas,” Haywood, a mother of six said of the timing of the closure. “I don’t want to be on the street.”
Caroline Hawthorn was a registered nurse at Northview Village, and her aunt was a resident.
“This is real-life stuff,” Hawthorn said. “Where is the compassion? Where is the care?”