(PRESS RELEASE/Providence Health Care)
Unit will remain open until all residents find new place to live…
Following a thorough and mission-led discernment process that involved Providence leadership and community members, we have made the difficult decision to close the Long Term Care Unit at Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chewelah. This decision was made based on the fact that by closing the Unit, Providence will be able to serve more people with the health care services they need most.
Providence remains dedicated to compassionate, quality care for our residents. Providence’s care teams are working with each resident, their families and state agency partners to ensure a smooth transition and we will remain open until our residents have found a new place to live that meets their health care needs.
Providence is also committed to supporting impacted Long Term Care Unit caregivers, including identifying other employment opportunities at Providence. As Providence is at the beginning of this process, it does not have a closing date for the Long Term Care Unit.
Providence came to this decision because of a combination of factors:
* As health care continues to change, so do the needs of Chewelah residents and surrounding communities. This decision will allow Providence to continue to provide critical health care services to the community including hospital, emergency, diagnostics, and primary care and also evaluate different and additional health care services that are needed.
* Next, Providence have found it to be increasingly difficult to hire full-time qualified staff to care for residents in this area. Providence is paying higher-than-normal labor costs to contracted and temporary staff.
* In addition, the cost of long term care has been escalating for many years, while reimbursement payments for the services continue to decline. This has limited Providence’s ability to provide other services that are greatly needed in Chewelah.
Even though Providence made this decision in the best interest of the community as a whole, it realizes this is difficult news. Providence Health Care has a long-standing history of compassionate care and commitment to Stevens County. Providence has provided nearly $8 million in community benefit for programs in Stevens County that support mental health resources, hunger initiatives, health care education, youth programs and more. That does not include Charity Care and Medicaid.