Three years ago, Detroit-based ACM Senior Living bought Countryside Nursing Home in South Haven as part of its plans to create Graceway Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing, a new brand of nursing home facilities the company hoped to start throughout the Midwest.
However, the 93-bed Graceway at Countryside Nursing Home closed its doors and transferred its residents to other nursing home facilities last week.
“They closed voluntarily,” said Matthew Erickson, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
Neither Tony Fischer, CEO of ACM Senior Living, or local nursing home staff could be reached for comment. Erickson said company officials cited financial hardship and staffing shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the decision to close the facility at 120 Baseline Road.
“Graceway at Countryside nursing facility in South Haven had encountered financial and staffing difficulties, so the residents were transferred to other facilities for their safety and care,” Erickson said. “A number of entities were involved to ensure an orderly and safe transfer of the residents. This included LARA-BCHS, MDHHS-Medicaid, Adult Protective Services, and the State Long Term Care Ombudsman’s office. LARA was onsite to help the provider to make sure residents were safe during this voluntary closure ... The last resident was transferred around 6 p.m. last Friday.”
At the time of its closure on Thursday, Graceway had 40 residents. The facility had been owned by Atrium Living Centers Inc., which also owns South Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation. But in 2018, Atrium sold Countryside nursing home to Graceway.
In 2020, several employees complained on social media sites about changes the new company, which had 60 staff at Countryside at the time, had made. Some stated that in 2019 their paychecks had bounced, and wondered whether the company was going bankrupt.
Fischer assured the public at the time that the company was not going bankrupt and that employees were being paid.
“Employees have been getting paid,” Fischer said in a previous interview. “We are in complete compliance with everything ... There are transition issues that have made some things difficult ... We just had a leadership transition (at Countryside Nursing Home). It’s been rocky. I’m dedicated to making sure residents and employees get everything they need.”
Although Countryside has closed in South Haven, two other skilled nursing care facilities still exist to serve the needs of older adults – South Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation and River Ridge Retirement Village.