PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – Residents at Bayou Shores Rehabilitation Center of St. Petersburg are greatly concerned about a letter they received today. The letter is from The Agency for Health Care Administration.
The letter advises patients and their caregivers that Medicaid funding is being cut off for the center and they now have seven days to move. “Well, basically ACHA is shutting down the facility,” said Fernando Gutierrez who is a licensed, professional guardian in the state of Florida.
“They’ve basically given us 7 days to place patients who have psychiatric issues and they’re on Medicaid and they are hard to find places that will be willing to take these patients,” said Gutierrez.
ACHA has investigated the facility before for some serious violations, including one case where a registered sex offender was placed in a room with a stroke patient.
“I never felt my patients were in harms way. I felt comfortable with the staff and I believe them and I trust them that it was corrected,” said Gutierrez when asked about the history of problems at the facility. “None of my patients, to the best of my knowledge was ever involved in any of those altercations, but I have confidence that they did clear those violations and I’ve been happy ever since,” said Gutierrez.
Mary Davis has lived at Bayou Shores for more than four years, after an operation left her wheel chair bound. “I like it here. I never have had any problems since I’ve been here,” said Davis.
However many of the patients at the facility suffer from dementia and are unaware of the problems going on around them.
Gisela Dienes cares for her husband who is now a resident there. She says she has few options on where to take him. “Then I would have to take him home, but I’m not going to let him. I mean, I don’t know what to do. I mean even taking him home, I can not give him a bath. I cant not leave him alone because of his mental thing. I mean, I wouldn’t have five minutes for myself,” said Dienes.
A spokesperson for ACHA says they will work with DCF to find the affected residents a new home. The spokesman released the following statement:
“The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) terminated Bayou Shores as a Medicare provider. Therefore, in accordance with federal regulations and section 409.913(14), Florida Statutes, the Agency must terminate the facility’s participation in the Medicaid program. The District Court and, subsequently, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that DHHS’ termination of Bayou Shores would take effect on October 19, 2015. Bayou Shores will remain a Florida licensed nursing facility on October 19, and therefore will be eligible to provide and receive private payment for nursing facility services. Bayou Shores will not be able to bill Medicare or Medicaid for those services after October 18. The Agency, the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care health plans, DCF, and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program will assist residents who choose to relocate to another nursing facility.”