State To Take Over Nursing Homes In Rock Springs, Saratoga

May 8, 2015

The Wyoming Department of Health is taking over private nursing homes in Rock Springs and Saratoga after their parent company, Deseret Health Group, abruptly announced their closure.

Deseret notified the Wyoming Department of Health that it would be closing the nursing homes on Monday. Federal regulations require 60 days notice when closing a nursing home in order to make provisions for its residents. But when Deseret announced the closures it also cut off funds to both the homes. Tammy Wilkerson works at the Rock Springs home. She says they’ve turned to community donations for resident’s basic needs. "Everyone has donated,” she said.  “Food, supplies, medications.”

That crisis spurred the Wyoming Department of Health to take over both the Rock Springs and Saratoga nursing homes, effective late Friday. Department Director Tom Forslund says they will be installing temporary managers, but keeping the employees, some of whom haven’t been paid in weeks.

“Going forward there is no question that they will be paid,” Forslund said on a conference call Friday afternoon.  “The state will ensure that they will be paid. It is of interest to us that the employees continue to work and take care of that vulnerable population.”

Forslund says the Center for Medicaid and Medicare services will work with the state to expedite the application process for a another private nursing home company to come into the state and possibly take over the nursing homes.

Multiple Deseret executives have been convicted of financial mismanagement in the past. Forsland says the state is looking into the prospect of both civil and criminal action.