Brius’ closure plans have nursing home residents “frightened,” feeling like “pawns”


Last week, dozens of people rallied outside Partnership HealthPlan’s Eureka office to counter a Brius-organized rally that sought to shift the blame from its own controversial decision to voluntarily close three nursing homes.

As reported by a half-dozen Humboldt news outlets, the diverse group of counter-protesters included family members of residents living in the nursing homes slated for closure, and community members upset over Brius’ plans.

An 85-year-old woman told the North Coast Journal about her son, a U.S. veteran who lives at one of the affected nursing homes. He has suffered from complications of diabetes and recently had his toes amputated. In a wheelchair for several months following surgery, he’s only recently started walking again. His mother fears he will be evicted from his nursing home to some far-away city. Tears welling in her eyes she told the Journal, “I don’t want him to have to go to Redding or far away. He wants to be near his mother.”

Chip Sharpe, one of the anti-Brius protestors, worries about his friend living in Brius’ Fortuna Rehabilitation and Wellness Center. While not one of the nursing homes Brius is threatening with closure, Chris’ friend has nonetheless been shaken by the news. “The residents are frightened and unsure what will happen,” he explained to the Journal.

California Senator Mike McGuire has been critical of Brius’ attempt to evade responsibility for the closures. In a recent press release, McGuire said, “This so-called protest would be amusing if it wasn’t so sad that Rockport Management was trying to take advantage of families and patients at this difficult time…There are real issues here – real people being impacted by the threat of these closures and I hope this billion-dollar corporation stops the grandstanding and they start working with us to help the people of Humboldt.” Chris Sharpe echoed this sentiment, telling the Journal he feels like “the residents are being used as pawns.

For more coverage of last week’s protest click on the links below.

  • Eureka Times-Standard. “Protests split on how to prevent Eureka nursing home closures.”
  • Lost Coat Outpost. “Competing protests with a shared goal: Keeping Eureka’s skilled nursing facilities from closing.”
  • KMUD. “Protestors call on Rockport to halt closure of nursing facilities, Rockport blames state contractor.”
  • NBC 3 News. “Protesters urging Partnership to keep three skilled nursing facilities open.”
  • ABC 7 News. “2 Eureka street protests follow Rockport Management’s scheduled nursing home closures.”
  • North Coast Journal. “Clash over care: Protesters face off over skilled nursing closures.”