TRIPP — After a half-century of operation, Tripp’s nursing home is closing its doors in March.
The Good Samaritan Society announced Thursday a March 9 closing date for the Tripp facility.
The Sioux Falls headquarters issued a press release to the Press & Dakotan. Good Samaritan officials acknowledged three major factors led to the closure decision.
"This location has had several challenges that make daily operations difficult," the release said. "(Nursing home resident) census has been declining due to the availability of alternative services, staffing has become increasingly difficult and the aging physical plant has made providing skilled nursing care services more difficult."
Any future plans for the Tripp building were not immediately available for the Press & Dakotan. In addition, current resident and employee numbers were not immediately available.
Thursday’s announcement doesn’t include other facilities, said Aaron Woods, the director of corporate communications.
"The Good Samaritan Society is only announcing the March 9 closing of the Tripp facility. There are no additional announcements planned by the Society," he said.
"We are assisting the Tripp residents in identifying other nearby long-term care facilities for relocation, including Good Samaritan Society locations in Wagner, Tyndall, Scotland, Corsica and Lennox."
The Tripp nursing center is located at 300 North Dobson Street, according to the Good Samaritan Society website. The Tripp facility’s services include post-acute rehabilitation services, outpatient therapy, nursing home, assisted living, adult day services and Meals On Wheels.
The Good Samaritan announcement comes at a particularly difficult time for Tripp, a Hutchinson County community with around 640 residents. The town’s only grocery store is slated for closure at the end of the month. In addition, Tripp-Delmont voters approved last year an opt-out to keep the school district in operation.
In Thursday’s announcement, Tripp administrator Matthew Trammel noted the long history that the nursing center has held with the community and surrounding region.
"The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society has been serving the Tripp community since 1968 and has felt the support of those dedicated employees, volunteers, residents and family members who have helped to strengthen the center over the years," he said in the news release.
"Together, we have helped share God’s love with many seniors and their families who were facing difficult choices and transitions. The Good Samaritan Society is grateful for their faithful care and service."
The Press & Dakotan left a phone message with Trammel, who was not immediately available for further comment.
In the news release, Good Samaritan Society officials said a number of steps were taken to keep the Tripp nursing home in operation.
"Leadership and center employees have worked hard to streamline operations, contain expenses, and (have) been innovative in their work and approach to regulatory changes in Tripp," the release said.
"While those efforts have been beneficial, it is not enough to solve the long-term issues the center faces. As a result, the Good Samaritan Society is giving a 60-day notice per State of South Dakota regulations that the Good Samaritan Society – Tripp location will be closed effective March 9, 2018, and the resident admission/occupancy agreements terminated as of that date.
In his statement, Trammel said Good Samaritan officials will work with affected parties during the next two months of transition and closure.
"We know this will be a difficult time for our employees, our residents and their families," he said. "We are committed to making the transition go as smoothly as possible and will have resources available to help residents and families during this period."
Another southeast South Dakota community has shown the possibility exists for another entity to take over the operation of a Good Samaritan facility.
In 2013, the Press & Dakotan reported on the Centerville community’s response to possibly losing its nursing home.
At that time, ownership of the Good Samaritan long-term care facility in Centerville was transferred to the Centerville Development Corporation (CDC). The Good Samaritan Society had said it would close the doors if someone didn’t take over, CDC coordinator Bill Hansen said at the time.
Centerville, a Turner County community of about 900 residents, couldn’t find interested parties willing to take over the center and couldn’t afford to allow the facility close, Hansen said.
At the same time, the community couldn’t’ afford to lose the nursing center, he said. As one of Centerville’s largest employers, the facility’s closure would have meant 40 residents would have a lost a home and around 50 employees would have lost their jobs, along with the ripple effect on the local economy.
With the transfer of ownership, the facility was renamed the Centerville Care and Rehab Center. At the time, the site offered out-patient occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and adult daycare services.
The Centerville facility was staffed by 54 full- and part-time nurses, certified nursing assistants and dietary workers.
Currently, Centerville Care and Rehab offers assisted living and skilled care along with in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation services, according to its website.
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