WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) -- Hundreds of patients and staff were left scrambling, after the Visiting Nurse Association of Rhode Island announced Wednesday it's closing by December 20th, blaming financial constraints.
This is the second home-based provider to shut down in as many months--after HomeFront Health Care in August.
The Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care is blaming frozen Medicaid reimbursement rates from the state.
"We just have not been able to see the cash flow necessary, not just to compete in the labor market, but also to maintain operating costs, said Nicholas Oliver of the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care.
We're told home health care agencies like the VNA have been losing nurses to hospitals and nursing homes.
"How can we compete for nurses, when we are offering 21 to 25 dollars an hour, nursing homes are offering 35 starting, some hospitals are offering above 40 dollars?" said Oliver.
"This is beyond a crisis now," said State Representative Patricia Serpa. She says Governor Raimondo needs to step in to keep other agenices from closing--as demand for care goes up.
"And as people my age begin to age-aging baby boomers-I'm told that these facilities, the nursing homes and home health care providers, they're not going to be able to take care of us. They're not equipped, they're not staffed, and there won't be enough of them left to take care of us," said Serpa.
Current VNA patients will be transferred to Middletown's Visiting Nurse Home and Hospice, but Serpa is worried about how that will impact patient care.
"I personally know a number of people here in the district at home, on hospice care because it's the end of their days. Are they going to be going without their pain medication? Are they going to rest peacefully until the end? It's very troubling. It's just spiraling out of control," said Serpa.
The Partnership for Home Care says the botched UHIP rollout was also a factor in the VNA's announcement that they're closing.
They're asking the state for a 28% increase on reimbursement rates so agencies like this can stay afloat.