Beartooth Manor closing

Thursday, November 10, 2022
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The Beartooth Manor nursing home in Columbus will close its doors early next year — an announcement that was made to both staff and residents this past Monday.

The facility posted the following notice on its website:

PUBLIC NOTICE: This is to serve as public notice to the community of Columbus that Beartooth Manor will be closing its operations as of January 7, 2023. Our sincerest thanks to all of you for the support you have provided over the years.

The closure will displace 36 residents who live at the skilled living center and leave at least 10 facility employees unemployed.

Lantis Enterprises owns and operates the facility. The company’s COO Wendy Soulek was not available by phone or email when contacted by the News early Wednesday morning. Beartooth Manor Administrator Christy Preece on Tuesday confirmed the pending closure for the News.

Chris Thorn is Beartooth Manor’s social services director and has worked at the facility for 36 years. She told the News Wednesday that she will be there until the day the doors close.

Thorn is distraught over the pending closure.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” Thorn said Wednesday morning, her voice cracking with emotion.

Many of Beartooth Manor’s 36 residents are local. And some have already been moved from other facilities that have shut down. The goal is to get all 36 placed in new facilities by Thanksgiving, said Thorn.

The closure is a matter of money. Specifically, the forced reliance on “agency staff.”

Like nearly every single business in the state (and country), the COVID pandemic created holes in workforces when employees did not return to jobs.

Beartooth Manor actually employs approximately three CNAs and three nurses. The other seven CNAs and three nurses needed to run the facility are “agency staff” meaning they come from elsewhere and are paid at a much higher rate, said Thorn. That increased expense has made keeping the facility open not financially feasible – despite every effort by Lantis, said Thorn.

“They (agency staff) hold us hostage and the state doesn’t do anything about it,” said Thorn.

In addition to the Manor’s CNA and nursing staff are four department heads and an entire kitchen staff who will all be without jobs.

Statewide, there have been nine nursing homes closed in 2022. Beartooth Manor will be the first to close in 2023.

RESPECT, DIGNITY, KINDNESS

Beartooth Manor is among Lantis Enterprises’ network of rurally based healthcare for senior citizens and people needing short and long-term specialized care and service needs due to a health condition, a change in life circumstances or a life event such as a surgery or hospital stay.

Respect, dignity and kindness was the Manor’s mantra and its goal was to give each resident the support needed to become as “independent and safe as possible.” This included short-term rehab to long-term care.

To get that done, the Manor used a combination of “input and skills” of residents, family members, doctors, nurses, therapists, departmental staff and professional consultants.

2021 CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD

In 2021, Beartooth Manor received the Pinnacle Quality Insight’s 2021 Customer Service Award. The facility qualified for the award in the categories of Nursing Care, Dining Services and Administration Process, according to a press release from Lantis Enterprises.