GREENSBORO, N.C. – A Greensboro home and medical facility for those with cerebral palsy and other disabilities said it will not be able to stay open past October 31.
Leaders at Bell House blame the closure on Medicaid cuts at the state and federal levels.
“Unfortunately, we have exhausted all avenues and have been unable to identify a viable solution that would allow Bell House to continue to operate; the capital and operational needs are simply too great and the funding insufficient,” said John Murray, Board Chair of Bell House.
Bell House has been helping disabled adults since 1979. It’s currently home to 20 people.
John Dickey with the Spina Bifida Association of the Carolinas has taught classes at the facility and said it stood out as something special.
“They really preach self-advocacy and independence and not a lot of group homes do that anymore,” said Dickey. “It's really just we'll take care of you and that's about it, but the Bell House is totally different.”
While the size of the facility was key in developing close relationships, it may also be a factor in why the assisted living facility may be one of the few in the Triad unable to survive in light of Medicaid reductions.
“They're not a corporate chain,” said Kim Johnson, a long-term care ombudsman with the Area Agency on Aging. “A larger fish is sort of able to bear the brunt of those Medicaid cuts easier than a smaller facility. We certainly don't hope it's not the start of a domino effect of facilities closing.”
Johnson said there are still more than 40 assisted living facilities in the Triad, so bed space shouldn’t be a concern.
She shares Dickey’s worry that the Triad is losing a place that was truly one of a kind.
“I'm saddened but not necessarily surprised,” said Dickey. “It’s a small community, so they bond together and they grow together whereas most group homes take care of you and that's about it.”