EDITOR’S NOTE: After attending the 5 pm press conference, the Tillamook County Pioneer is releasing the official press release from CARE Inc. about the closure of our locally owned/managed assisted living communities for our low-income seniors. We will have a follow-up story tomorrow about the work behind the scenes by CARE’s board of directors since July of this year to find a sustainable path forward for the communities.
After 25 years of providing care to seniors in Tillamook County, Nehalem Bay House and Kilchis House are closing their doors in February 2022. Residents and staff were informed of the planned closures earlier today. The closures will impact 29 residents at Kilchis House in Tillamook and 26 residents at the Nehalem Bay House. Nehalem Bay and Kilchis House are staples in the Tillamook community and some of the only options for low-income seniors to live and receive care in the area.
CARE, Inc., a non-profit organization that has managed the communities since 2012, serves primarily low-income Oregonians. A majority of the residents at these two buildings are on Medicaid. CARE, Inc., cited the workforce shortage and exponential increases in wage and labor costs due to the need to rely upon temporary staffing agencies as the reason for the closures.
“To say that we are devastated to have to close our doors is an understatement. Our residents and staff were overwhelmingly sad when we shared the news of the closures,” said Peter Starkey, executive director for CARE, Inc. “Unfortunately, due to significant workforce shortages, insufficient Medicaid reimbursement rates, and the need for expensive temporary agency staff, our cash reserves are drained, and we simply can’t afford to stay open much longer. I hope this doesn’t have to happen to any other communities.”
CARE, Inc. will now begin working with each resident to secure new placements, with a focus on finding appropriate assisted living communities in Tillamook County or close to residents’ family members. Placements may also occur in the Portland Metro, Seaside, or Lincoln City areas based on residents’ needs and community availability. After the closure of Nehalem Bay House and Kilchis house, there will only be one assisted facility in Tillamook County: Prestige Senior Living Five Rivers.
Peter Starkey, Executive Director of CARE, Inc., and Desiree Hansen, Operations Specialist with Vanda Health, will be overseeing placements for each resident. They will work in partnership with local healthcare providers, case managers, the State Medicaid office, the State Long Term Care Ombudsman Office, Aging and Disability Services, NW Senior and Disability Services, Adult Protective Services, Oregon Department Human Services, and the Oregon Health Care Association (OHCA) to ensure appropriate placement. Residents will have access to case managers and mental health supports throughout the transition process.