State reviewing Wareham Healthcare’s closure plan

Apr 22, 2021

The state agency that grants licenses for nursing home facilities has 14 days to review Wareham Healthcare’s proposed closure plan and any public comment on the matter before deciding to approve or suggest changes to the plan, according to Department of Public Health officials.

On April 21 at 6 p.m., the department held a brief teleconference public hearing on the 175-bed nursing home’s recently announced plans to close near the end of July.

Wareham Healthcare, a facility located at 50 Indian Neck Road and operated by Next Step Healthcare, began notifying residents of the facility’s impending closure on March 30. Wareham Healthcare’s residents will need to relocate before the facility’s proposed closure date of July 28, but the company has committed to providing assistance in finding alternative care. The company said employees were offered the chance to remain with the company and retain their seniority by transferring to other facilities Next Step Healthcare operates.

“Today’s hearing provides members of the community an opportunity to share comments or concerns on the facility’s proposed closure plan in a public forum,” said  Sherman Lohnes, the director of the Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification for the bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality for the Massachusetts Department of Public health. 

He noted that questions about the closure plan could not be answered at the hearing, however. 

Next Step Healthcare CEO Damian Dell‘Anno attended the hearing and reiterated that Wareham Healthcare would be closed following the expiration of the lease for its facility. He said Wareham Healthcare began leasing the facility on Dec. 1, 2017, and said the lease had a Feb. 28, 2021 expiration date.

“Numerous attempts by Next Step Healthcare to either purchase or re-lease the facility went unnoticed,” he said. “Ultimately, the facility’s landlord was not willing to renew the lease or sell the facility, and demanded that Next Step Healthcare close the facility.” 

Dell‘Anno said the landlord had granted a temporary extension of the lease to allow Wareham Healthcare time to complete the closure process.

“We know this is a difficult and frightening message to hear,” he said. “Especially given what you all have endured this past year as we navigated the global pandemic together. Our commitment to our residents and to their families will remain unwavering as we work toward a smooth transition to ensure assisting placement for each and every one of your loved ones.”

Residents, their family members and other members of the public were invited to speak at the meeting or submit written comments via email. No one shared comments publicly during the hearing.

The facility’s “Proposed Closure Plan for Wareham Healthcare” is attached to this story as a PDF.