Valley View Manor's future remains in question

Conversations with owners of senior citizen home called 'frustrating'

Conversations with officials from Mariner Health Care, owner of Valley View Manor, have yielded a definitive "no" to a plan by The Memorial Hospital to take over the senior citizens home before it closes its doors July 8.

In a hospital board of trustees meeting Wednesday night, hospital administrator Randy Phelps talked about his efforts to get in contact with officials at Mariner Health Care to discuss alternatives to the closure.

"I have to tell you the last two weeks have been some of the most frustrating of my life," Phelps said.

The communications between Phelps and a vice president of Mariner Health Care addressed whether there was a possibility of postponing the closure of Valley View Manor.

A Mariner official told Phelps that to keep the facility open would mean underwriting losses in excess of $100,000 a month, Phelps said.

The vice president also said that the senior citizens home would not stop discharging patients until a potential buyer had been found and a contract of sale had been signed.

Mariner Health Care officials have indicated that any money that is set aside to save Valley View Manor should be used to buy it after it closes down and "start over," Phelps said.

At issue was the fact that Mariner Health Care had assured Phelps

that all remaining 23 patients had a place to go once the building was shut down and that the health care company is paying the relocation costs.

"I am amazed that within three weeks they have placed everyone," Phelps said.

But Craig resident Wes McStain, whose mother lives at Valley View Manor, said he was not aware of any such arrangements.

McStain said his mother moved into the facility three months ago.

"My question is, why did they accept her if they were closing down right away?" McStain asked. "The whole thing has been less than honorable"

Mariner Health Care is asking $500,000 for the building once the company closes it down.

"He sort of made it sound negotiable," Phelps said of the asking price.

The board agreed that it would want the property inspected before agreeing to any asking price.

The hospital board discussed how it would like to proceed and decided to try to get historical financial data from Mariner.

Members said even if they couldn't get that data, the hospital should try to reopen the facility.

Ideas that were brought up as possibilities for the new senior citizens home included:

  • a non-profit organization
  • adult day care
  • assisted living community
  • a respite care provider

The project would be a cooperative effort between the county, city and The Memorial Hospital.

The county has agreed to help start a new senior citizens home with the aid of $10,000 and Phelps said he had assurance from the state that they would give a grant of $20,000.

"I would like to see the community have some control in it," McStain said.

"If you are going to sustain it (a senior citizens home) through good and bad times, you have to have the community involved as an anchor," Phelps said.

Liz King is an intern with the Craig Daily Press. She can be reached at 824-7031 or lking@craigdailypress.com

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