The North End nursing home and rehabilitation center in Boston’s North End will be leased to a new operator, keeping it open for existing residents and future patients.
Marquis Health Services, a subsidiary of Tryko Partners, will acquire the facility, according to a January 6th news release from exiting owner Partners Healthcare, that operated it under Spaulding Rehabilitation Services. The North End nursing facility opened in 1983 and has been run by Spaulding since 2001.
Neighborhood leaders have been fighting to keep the facility open since last June when Partners/Spaulding announced their intentions to move patients to Brighton and close the facility. In several meetings and hearings, the community has passionately voiced the devastating impact on the neighborhood and its elderly should the nursing home not remain open.
North End residents, especially those with family members in the nursing facility, cheered the news. A community steering committee formed leading the charge to keep the nursing facility open. Committee members were Chair Alissa Passacantilli Tizzano, Louis Strazzullo, Jason Aluia, Francine Gannon, Pam Donnaruma, Philip Frattaroli, Marie Simboli, Maria Stella Gulla and Victor Brogna. On behalf of the neighborhood steering committee, Chair Passacantilli Tizzano and Aluia reacted to the news Friday,
We are overjoyed that the Nursing Home will remain in the neighborhood as a resource for our seniors and vulnerable residents. Thank you to Mayor Walsh and our elected officials for their commitment, our fellow neighbors for standing firm and the people at Spaulding for hearing our concerns and acting in good faith. We welcome Marquis Health to the neighborhood and offer our full support as they take over the facility.
Elected officials answered the call to spur negotiations with Partners/Spaulding in the search for a new owner. City of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, District 1 City Councilor Sal LaMattina and State officials Rep. Aaron Michlewitz and Sen. Joe Boncore, organized with the neighborhood steering committee to keep the facility open. Mayor Walsh met with stakeholders over the last several months and reacted on Friday to the announcement,
We are extremely pleased that we have found an organization that is willing to maintain a facility in the North End community and provide continuity of care for the existing long term patients.
Marquis will make renovations to the facility, totaling approximately $4 million, that will be staged so that there will be no disruption to existing long term residents of the facility. In its statement, Marquis said they expect to assume full responsibility for operations, pending regulatory approvals, in late 2017. Marquis operates more than 2,000 skilled nursing beds nationally, including nine facilities in Massachusetts.
Existing patients and staff will be given a choice to stay at the North End facility or move to a renovated Partners nursing home in Brighton.
David Storto, President of the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, commented in a phone conversation that Partners / Spaulding was very pleased with the outcome. After its initial announcement, Spaulding worked with local officials and the community to find a new owner so that uninterrupted care could be provided to residents and patients at the facility. Storto made the following comment after meeting with local officials on Friday,
Marquis has an impressive track record of making investments in their facilities and scores well on publicly reported quality measures. Marquis is also committed to understanding the needs of their local communities and helping to make a positive impact.
Vital to keeping the facility dedicated to nursing care was a restriction on the property from a former urban renewal plan that only allows it to be used for such nursing health purposes. This restriction was confirmed by the Boston Redevelopment Authority at the city hearing and ruled out the possibility that other uses, such as condos, would be approved at the location. It also opened the door for another nursing home operator to purchase the property and take over operations.
For its part, Marquis CEO, Norman Rokeach, made the following statement regarding their upcoming assumption of operations in the North End,
Our approach to nursing home operations center on two goals: providing excellent care and providing excellent customer service. We anticipate that our approach – focused on hands-on, quality care – will be well received by our residents and their families. We look forward to working collaboratively with the community and the City of Boston.
Opened in 1983 in response to increasing community need for the elderly, the facility was originally owned and operated by the North End Community Health Center (now North End Waterfront Health). The center’s mission was to provide lifecycle care for residents. The nursing home’s location in the neighborhood was selected so that longtime residents could stay in the North End while their families could frequently visit.
In 2000, Partners Healthcare came into the facility and took over full operations in 2001. At the same time, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital introduced therapy services, diversifying the operations beyond being a nursing home. There are approximately 110 beds in the facility with about 60 dedicated to full-time residential nursing care.