The V.I. government is working out how to take care of St. Thomas’ Sea View Nursing Home residents in the wake of news that Sea View, the territory’s only nursing home, was decertified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter said in a statement Monday. Potter is acting governor while Gov. Kenneth Mapp is out of the territory for meetings in Guam.
“Our administration is keenly aware of the CMS decertification at Sea View. We are working together with the Department of Human Services to plan for caring for the residents," Potter said. "Our administration will make sure that the best possible care will be provided. We also want to reassure the families and the caregivers that their concerns are being addressed. We will do everything possible to secure a long-term solution for their loved ones," he said.
CMS Associate Regional Administrator J. William Roberson gave public notice earlier this month that Sea View Nursing Home "has failed to maintain compliance with Medicare requirements," and as a result CMS will no longer reimburse it for care for patients on Medicare or Medicaid after June 30. (See CMS Notice of Sea View Decertification.)
Sea View had been the only CMS accredited nursing home in the Virgin Islands. Medicare/Medicaid distinguishes between nursing homes, like Sea View where patients need skilled care for most of their needs, and assisted-living facilities, where patients live on their own with some help for daily needs. The Lucinda Millin, Herbert Grigg and Queen Louise homes for the aged are assisted-living facilities, which are not rated by the federal entity.
The territory, like the nation as a whole, has an aging population and V.I. Human Services officials have testified many times to the Legislature that the need for long-term care beds is greater than the supply and steadily increasing. Losing funding as a result of decertification of Sea View makes that pressing concern more severe.
Acting Human Services Commissioner Vivian Ebbesen-Fludd told a Senate committee last week that CMS regulations suggest it might be possible to forestall the decertification through a temporary government takeover of the home and that a steering committee had been formed to address the situation. (See Related Links below)
Potter did not address specific actions but said that when Mapp returns Friday, "we will sit down and discuss the situation and the solutions at hand. We will present a long-term solution to eldercare throughout the territory. Caring for and planning for our seniors is a priority for both of us and this week it became a priority for all of us.”