Episcopal Priest: Brius’ nursing home closures “would be a disaster”

Brius and its owner, Los Angeles-based billionaire Shlomo Rechnitz, continue to draw the ire of local community members about their plan to shutter three Humboldt County nursing homes.

On October 6, the Eureka Times Standard published a column by Eric Duff, an Episcopal priest and licensed clinical social worker in Humboldt County. The following is an excerpt:

Losing as many as 258 beds for this purpose would be a disaster. Perhaps a larger community could tolerate this, but not Humboldt County. Here, every bed is precious. I have visited each of our nursing homes on many occasions, and certainly have had reasons for complaining. They are notoriously understaffed…

We must do something as a community before the corporate machine of Rockport Healthcare Services, a subsidiary of the much larger Brius corporation, which controls five of the six care-home facilities in Humboldt County and 98 percent of its licensed beds, gets away with its plan to close three of these facilities…

[J]ust wait until there isn’t a bed available within a three-hour radius for you or your loved one facing the need for ongoing medical care. “People are deeply concerned about the scorched-earth policy this company is bringing forward,” said state Sen. Mike McGuire (Sacramento Bee, Sept. 24). We need to do whatever we can to avert this crisis.

Eric Duff joins a rising crescendo of voices opposed to Brius’ plans including nursing home residents, family members, elder advocates, healthcare workers, long-term care ombudsmen, and state and local legislators.