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Senior assisted homes to close

February 03, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Holly Place and North Holly Place, two senior assisted living homes in the 200 block of South Potomac Street, will be closing their doors in mid-March, displacing 28 residents and idling 22 employees.

Resident David Adams got the word Tuesday that he would have to leave the place he has called home for 14 years.

"I have nowhere to go," Adams said Wednesday. The 80-year-old Hagerstown man said he has been upset about his uncertain future since he was told of the closings.

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Despite the fact that she is losing her job, Administrator Melanie Davis said she and her staff are joining with the board to first focus their efforts on helping Adams and the other residents find new places to live as quickly as possible.

Doug Wright, president of the Senior Living Alternatives Inc. board, said even though the staff and board want to save the two homes, they are switching gears to relocate the residents. He said he hopes some stop-gap money might come in to pay bills during the final 45 days of operation.

A key factor in the funding equation for the two Holly Place homes was a Medicaid waiver, Wright said, describing it as a subsidy that equally split the difference of the amount a resident couldn't pay toward the $2,054 monthly bill at the homes.

"At one time we had 18 of our 30 residents receiving the waiver," Wright said.

Then a cap was placed on the amount, and each time the homes lost residents because of death, they couldn't be replaced at the same rate.

"We're hoping some other assisted living facilities will step forward to help relocate our residents," Wright said.

He said the word came late last week that there was no more state money available. "All we'd need from the state would be another $63,000 a year for the 11 residents who are currently certified for the Medicaid waiver," Wright said.

Wright said the decision was made to close the two homes because there was only $22,000 left in the bank account. "We've been losing $20,000 a month and that amount was getting bigger and bigger," he said.

Holly Place is at 240 S. Potomac St. and North Holly Place is at 268 S. Potomac St., said Davis, who said she has been employed there for all 17 years the homes have been in operation.

Last summer, Wright asked the Washington County Commissioners for funds and received a $25,000 boost for operating expenses. The Washington County Gaming Commission gave the group $40,000 last year, less than the $100,000 requested.

Wright said Wednesday that retraining classes for staff are already in the works, both at The Training Place and through Williamsport Retirement Village.

Wright said state officials recommended the homes try to attract residents who could pay more but he said that flew in the face of the group's mission to help indigent and low-income clients.

"It's been a big happy family here," Adams said. "I'm going to miss that."

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