nursing homes

PORTLAND, Maine - An independent commission is going to review the performance of Maine's nursing homes during the pandemic.

Nick Woodward / Maine Public

Maine long-term care facilities continue to experience outbreaks of COVID-19. The Maine Center for Disease Control reported Thursday that Falmouth By the Sea is the fifth such facility to be hit with multiple cases.

Charles Beck / Maine Public

Cases of COVID-19 at a Belfast long-term care facility have nearly doubled, and a new outbreak has been identified at a nursing home in Augusta, according to the latest update from the Maine CDC.

David Goldman / AP Photo

The Maine Center for Disease Control is now prioritizing COVID-19 test results for residents and employees in long-term care facilities and nursing homes. The change marks a departure from federal guidelines, which had originally ranked testing in such facilities as a lower priority. But the change comes amid concern that the federal test ranking was ignoring the risk of infection in nursing homes to both residents and staff.

The Senate Special Committee on Aging Wednesday heard about developments in technology and assistive devices to help older Americans live independently.

A nursing home in West Paris that cares for 72 residents has announced that it will close in 60 days.

The business manager of Ledgeview Living Center, Roger Wilday, says insufficient Medicaid reimbursement rates are the driving factor.

"At this time our challenges are, you know, MaineCare reimbursement system doesn't cover what our expenses are for the facility,” he says.

MaineCare is the state version of Medicaid. Wilday says Ledgeview is contacting other nursing homes to find placements for residents.

Families have less than one month to find new long-term care facilities for 22 residents of a Penobscot County nursing home, which is closing its doors Sept. 1.

In a prepared statement, the management of Mountain Heights Care Facility in Patten said that declining occupancy and MaineCare rates, in addition to a recent increase in the minimum wage, are the primary reasons for the closure.

Patten Town Manager Raymond Foss said the region will be hard hit.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo

Four nursing homes in Maine have received the lowest possible score for staffing levels, according to an analysis of federal data by Kaiser Health News.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Maine's roughly 100 nursing homes will get an additional $13.1 million in funding this year.
    Republican Gov. Paul LePage announced Thursday that his administration is moving forward with a plan that doesn't require the Legislature's approval after weeks of wrangling with Democrats over funding for the facilities.

First, Gov. Paul LePage threatened to bring the Maine Legislature back into an emergency session. Now minority Republicans are urging Democrats to reconvene over nursing homes. Specifically, Republicans want to reconsider an 11th-hour bill from the governor that would provide $5 million to nursing homes from a tobacco settlement fund.

On this last day of the legislative session, Gov. Paul LePage submitted a bill he says will provide Maine's nursing homes with the money they need to keep their doors open for the remainder of the budget cycle. But the problem for Democratic legislative leaders is that the bill would take millions from the state's Fund for a Healthy Maine that underwrites substance abuse programs.  And as A.J. Higgins reports, they also think it's being proposed too late in the session.