Community Health & Environment

NEW Health Responds to Closing of North End Nursing and Rehab Center

No one is sadder than I that the North End Nursing and Rehab Center will be closing. Before becoming CEO of the health center in 1988, I was Chief Financial Officer of the nursing home from its opening in 1983, until 1988. Things were very different 33 years ago.

Residents lived in a communal setting; almost akin to what is now assisted living. Residents cooked meals in the activities room for each other and their families, regular outings to go apple picking or restaurant hopping were organized, and many regularly walked around the neighborhood.

As rules around Medicaid eligibility began to change, only the sickest of patients were deemed appropriate for entry, unless they were able to pay privately. At that time, 95% of the residents qualified for Medicaid. In later years, the newest residents were too sick to enjoy most of those activities, and the number of North Enders requesting admission started to dwindle. By 2000, healthcare was rapidly changing, and the board of directors found it difficult to operate the facility providing only skilled nursing services. 

To compete in the new healthcare marketplace and assure services would remain; the health center partnered with the MGH family. The nursing home became a part of the Spalding Rehab Network of Partners HealthCare. MGH has become a valued partner to the health center, and provides a wealth of expertise and resources. At the new Spaulding North End (SNE), rehab beds were added to complement the long term care services. Over the years, however, less and less North Ender residents are seeking rehab or long term care services at SNE. This is due to many factors which include a dwindling elder population; access to newer and more modern facilities; and patients’ preference to remain home or enter care in assisted living, or independent housing facilities.

The facility is antiquated and does not meet the needs of patients entering its doors. I have to say I bemoan the decision to close it, but I begrudgingly understand.

People are concerned it will be turned into luxury condos or hotel space; I will do everything in my power to see that it remains an asset to this community and used to improve the lives of our residents.

Jim Luisi, CEO North End Waterfront Health

14 Replies to “NEW Health Responds to Closing of North End Nursing and Rehab Center

  1. Translating what Mr. Luisi said into English, the North End Nursing Home wasn’t making enough money to justify its existence. It became, as the financial types like to say, a non performing asset. The real estate was worth more than the people it served.

    Everything Mr. Luisi says may be true but what bothers me is the neighborhood wasn’t informed or involved in the decision making process.

    This decision to close the nursing home didn’t just appear. It had to have been discussed and examined for months by senior administrators at the hospital and health center. All this was done in secret and without neighborhood input.
    I don’t recall Mr. Luisi presenting this plan to the neighborhood council or resident’s association. If it weren’t for Matt Conti’s newsletter we wouldn’t have known about it at all.

    The actions of the Massachusetts General Hospital and North End Community Health Center are shameful and dismissive of neighborhood concerns.

    How can you call yourself a “community” health center if you make important decisions like this without community input?

    1. Mr. Dello Russo- The Health Center turned over the Nursing Home to Spaulding in 2000 so that it would survive in the future. Without that happening, the Nursing Home would have closed much sooner. I only learned of Spaulding’s decision last week and was never consulted with the decision. To blame the Health Center is misleading and not helpful in trying to mitigate a solution.

    2. Hi Nick:

      To set the record straight, neither Jim Luisi nor the Health Center Board had any hand in the decision to close the nursing home. The Health Center Board ceased operational supervision of the nursing home in 2000.

      I am as upset at this decision, but I think disinformation is not helpful. let us focus our anger and community efforts to the appropriate parties, in this case Partners.

      Thanks Jason

  2. Nick just to clarify it was the Boston Herald that exposed the story about the nursing home. Marie Simboli

    1. Freewy, I published the article the day before the Herald, but the “who was first” isn’t really important. I heard direct from multiple families as stated in the original story who found out from staff. The point is that the company made its final decision before even talking to the families or the community that originally setup the nursing home.

  3. The fact that is was never discussed or mentioned to the community is extremely dissapointing.
    The amount of stress and sadness that the people who will be displaced must be under right now is unacceptable.
    I live across the street and stop over with my dog when I see people sitting outside to say “hello”.
    When I see people at the window inside I go in for a visit. I don’t know these people but made an effort to get to know them because some days it can be depressing and some older people don’t have family so they could be scared and feel lonely. It only takes a 10 minute visit to remind them that they’re in a neighborhood and things will ok.
    But the “reality”is what Nick pointed out,
    it’s all about the money.
    Two papers print the story about what has been decided to happen in our neighborhood /community without us knowing. I guess they wanted to avoid “bad press”. Shame on them.

  4. What we need NOW is a meeting with ALL the north end residents and with our politicians and of course mayor walsh just maybe we can get some answers and a positive solution how to handle the closing of the nursing home. Our anger and frustration is not going to help this situation. Call your politicians today request a meeting let them know we are concerned about our elderly. We need to pull together as a community. Marie Simboli

    1. Hi Marie:

      Aaron and Sal are trying to meet with the families first and address their concerns. The next step should be what the community can do to help the situation.

  5. This news is very disturbing. I know first hand how the Family’s of their Loved ones feel, since my Mother was a resident at Nursing Home and rehab. For 6 Years. She was fortunate to have 7 Children We always made sure to give attention to other patients who didn’t have family. Honestly i feel the sale is already set in stone i doubt if any Politicians can do anything about it Not trying to downplay this terrible frightening situation for the patients and family’s However I will support them in whatever they want to do

  6. There is no question that Partners has disregarded the concerns of the patients and their famiilies by making this decision behind closed doors without notifying anyone.

    When Davis Storto, president of Spaulding, states that ” The facilities are not in good condition…” I want to know why upgrades haven’t been made since Partners has been in control since 2000. They allowed the facility to deteriorate with the anticipation of selling the property.

    The community has to work together to stop this.

    1. The Newnc meeting Monday night June13th will be discussing the closing of the nursing home and our state representative Aaron will be there it will be at the nazzaro center I would say around 7:30 as soon as our meeting is over. Try to come with any questions you may have everyone is welcome. Thank you. Marie simboli

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