Despite being one of the highly-ranked nursing homes in Massachusetts and nationwide, Tuell Nursing Home will be shuttering as soon as the end of next week, according to co-owner Michael Cummings.
Tuell, which has been open for more than four decades, is expected to be closed sometime in the next few weeks depending on how the placement process goes for the 26 people the nursing home currently cares for, according to Cummings. Cummings co-owns Tuell with his sister, Nancy Lordan.
With rising costs and no state increases in the past handful of years, Cummings explained that there was no other alternative but to close.
"It is almost impossible to run a health care facility without any type of a rate increase at all and that is with the state-funded Medicaid rate," Cummings said. "We have had some rate increases in Medicare, but even in Medicare two years ago there was a 30 percent cut in Medicare rates so financially the ability to keep the home going has been near impossible."
Cummings, who has worked as an operator and owner in the industry since 1981, said the past two years have been the most challenging running Tuell given the reduced funding at the state level.
"2011 was the worst year," he said. "The whole industry was not doing too badly until 2010. In 2011, the Governor (Deval Patrick) essentially taxed the nursing homes by not fully funding Medicaid, and then the federal government cut Medicare by 30 percent and that is what really hurt the nursing home business badly."
Tuell, which has 28 beds and currently has 26 in-house residents, is working with in-house residents' families to inform them of the impending closure and the placement process, according to Cummings.
"Our first job is to make sure that the residents are taken care of up until they leave, and as they leave make sure that the transition happens so they go to a safe place, a safe environment and that is really taking up all our time," Cummings explained.
Once the nursing home closes, Cummings said there is no immediate plan in place as to what will happen with the building. Tuell currently has a total of about 40 full and part-time employees, according to Cummings.
"Cummings Health Care was founded by Francis J. Cummings over 35 years ago with the purchase of Tuell Nursing Home in Melrose, MA," reads the Cummings Health Care website. "This charming home has thrived for those years with the care and attention of a dedicated staff. Since then we have expanded to four facilities and welcomed our third generation of Cummings family administrators.
"Each of our homes has its own personality but each is family oriented, cheerful, and cozy just like our original home, Tuell. We offer long term care, respite care, hospice care and rehabilitation in a small, individually focused atmosphere. We pride ourselves on our welcoming, warm environment."
According to the Medicare website, Tuell has high marks in service, receiving five stars in all categories including overall rating, health inspections, staffing and quality rating. Five stars is the highest rating a nursing home can receive, according to the site.
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