NORTH SMITHFIELD – St. Antoine Residence has been awarded $1 million in CARES Act funding, as one of 10 nursing facilities in Rhode Island to receive a grant aimed at expanding and diversifying services to make up income lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “Support and Change” grants are part of a $9 million investment by the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services announced in October.

Funds ranging from $500,000 to $1 million went to nursing facilities that applied to the program, seeking support to diversify their business models to remain viable through the public health emergency, mitigate the impact of COVID-19, diversify their revenue and expand quality services to specialized populations.

“The COVID-19 public health emergency has had a significant impact on Rhode Island’s nursing facilities,” said Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Womazetta Jones. “This partnership represents an opportunity to extend that cooperation to build strong resilience for the current crisis and improve health outcomes for all Rhode Islanders in need of long-term services and supports.”

Under this program, facilities submitted proposals for additional financial assistance, detailing transformation plans and the number of licensed beds to either be de-licensed, taken out of service or reserved for specialized resident needs. Successful applicants needed to demonstrate organizational readiness, community partnerships, Medicaid participation, a clear and well-structured work plan and a clear commitment to nursing facility diversification or building of specialized service capacity.

According to a release on the grants, potential residents with co-morbidities that make them particularly susceptible to the virus, often end up in hospital settings where they otherwise could be cared for in less restrictive, nursing home settings. For example, individuals with complex behavioral health needs, traumatic brain injury, or patients in need of a ventilator may require a stay at a nursing facility to stabilize before returning home. However, if there are no specialized nursing home beds available for those types of patients, they remain in the hospital.

“During the public health emergency, the state and providers need to ensure that hospital beds are free for the sickest patients,” noted a release on the awards. “Therefore, creating opportunities for nursing facilities to meet the needs of specialized complex populations will create additional demand for nursing facilities who need it, and address concerns of hospitals during the continuing public health emergency.”

Awardees received 30 percent of the grant award up front, and will receive the remaining 70 percent upon demonstrated evidence of either a reduction of nursing facility beds (either delicensed or taken out of service,) or specifically reserved for targeted, specialized capacity building.

The list of additional recipients included:
• Charlesgate Nursing Center – $1M awarded
• Elderwood of Scallop Shell at Wakefield – $1M awarded
• Elmhurst Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center – $500K awarded
• Hopkins Manor AKA Lincolnwood Rehabilitation Healthcare Center – $500K awarded
• Linn Health & Rehabilitation – $1M awarded
• Royal at Forest Farm AKA Royal at Middletown – $1M awarded
• Saint Elizabeth Home – $1M awarded
• Saint Clare Home – $1M awarded
• West View Nursing and Rehabilitation Center – $1M awarded

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