Following the financial stress of COVID-19, the residents of the Estes Park Health Living Center could soon face homelessness. The center houses 29 residents and has never fully occupied their 52 beds, but says that even if all 52 beds were filled, it is unclear if the center would be profitable.

The nursing home is owned and operated by the nonprofit Estes Park Health System and is expected to lose $1.4 million this year, as reported by the Coloradoan.

The board says that the insufficient funds come from a lag in Medicaid reimbursements and occupancy drops. They expect to make a decision on whether or not to close the home by mid-October.

Imagine the stress that these families must be feeling right now. Most Americans are really struggling and to not know where or how you will care for an ailing parent next month, possibly while homeschooling, is a terrible situation.

The nursing facility is in a separate taxing district which Estes Park Mayor Wendy Koenig has no authority over. She is gathering information about the hospital to better understand their finances, according to the Coloradoan.

The facility was originally built as a hospital with a nursing home attached in order to eliminate the need for Estes residents to travel to the Front Range to visit family.

Most nursing homes are still closed to visitation and require a 14 day quarantine, which many of these residents could not handle, according to statements by residents' family members. Barbara Keilty told the Coloradoan that her 86-year-old mother, a dementia patient, "would not survive that [a move]" and that "her dementia causes her enough stress."

Tara Schulze, a Fort Collins resident whose mother is also a dementia patient, told the Coloradoan that "moving dementia patients is a big deal" and that the current plan is "an unrealistic time frame." Schulze went on to say, "I feel like they've made this decision based on money rather than resident care."

Koenig says the CEO of the facility has ignored the needs of EPHLC's residents, telling the Coloradoan, "for a CEO who has lived here for five months to come in and say we can't afford it and will shut it down is pretty alarming."

The Estes Park Health Board held a virtual town hall meeting yesterday to discuss the issues facing their health system services, with another meeting scheduled for September 23.

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