Health

UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids to close longtime facility

New Horizons to close Feb. 1; officials seeking new placements for 25 residents

St. Luke’s Living Center East building at 1220 Fifth Avenue SE. (The Gazette)
St. Luke’s Living Center East building at 1220 Fifth Avenue SE. (The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids has announced it will discontinue operations for its group living facility for intellectually disabled individuals early next year.

New Horizons anticipates a closure on Feb. 1 as St. Luke’s officials prepare to vacate St. Luke’s Living Center East, the building at 1220 Fifth Ave. SE that the program has occupied since the mid-1970s.

The 26-bed program is a group living environment for individuals with moderate to severe and profound disabilities that require nursing supervision and structure.

The facility is a designated Intermediate Care Facility for the Intellectually Disabled, a Medicaid benefit that enables states to individualize health care and rehabilitation services as an alternative to home- and community-based service waivers.

In the emailed statement, St. Luke’s spokeswoman Sarah Corizzo said the Living Center East building has been purchased by the Catherine McAuley Center, which will take possession in fall 2019.

Catherine McAuley Center officials did not immediately respond to The Gazette’s request for information on their plans for the building.

Officials also are preparing to move the skilled nursing beds currently located in Living Center East to the new St. Luke’s Transitional Care Center, a $14.9 million skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility for short-term care that UnityPoint Health is building at 8400 N Council St. NE in Cedar Rapids.

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“These developments, coupled with the knowledge of the state’s preference and original intent for Intermediate Care Facility for the Intellectually Disabled programs such as New Horizons to transition residents to a homelike setting environment rather than a group institutional living environment factored into the decision to close the facility,” Corizzo said in a statement.

Corizzo said the closure is not related to Medicaid reimbursements.

There are currently 25 residents in New Horizons.

“Our top priority is the care and smooth transition for our residents. Therefore, UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids has contracted with an expert in Intermediate Care Facility for the Intellectually Disabled services to assist with securing appropriate placement and facilitating each individuals’ transfer to their new homes,” said Peg Brake, vice president of post acute services at UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids, in a statement.

Corizzo said the private contractor will find placements in smaller, more homelike facilities “that provide community integrated services.”

Available facilities have been identified in Dubuque, Maquoketa, DeWitt and Guttenberg.

Services will continue until all residents have found placements, and could continue beyond the Feb. 1 closure date if necessary.

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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