Grinnell Health Care Center closes; Psychiatric hospital intends to take its place


Eleanor Hedges Duroy

The Grinnell Health Care Center, located at 415 6th Ave., closed in August 2022.

Ellianna Cierpiot, Staff Writer

The Grinnell Health Care Center (GHCC), a facility that provided short- and long-term care for elderly patients, closed permanently in August 2022. Hickory Recovery Network, an Indiana-based corporation,  has proposed the establishment of a psychiatric hospital in the now empty building, located at 415 6th Ave. 

The GHCC closed for financial reasons, Dr. Brian Heineman, former medical director of the GHCC, said in an interview with the Grinnell Herald-Register. The facility was unable to accept Medicaid reimbursements and was losing money. The GHCC was meeting all regulations for patient care, and it was not over capacity at the time of its closing, according to Heineman. 

The GHCC provided services such as physical and occupational therapy, including rehabilitation therapy to help patients return to an independent life at home, according to the list of services on the GHCC’s website. It also had long-term nursing care facilities. At the time of closing, there were 25 residents, all of whom were relocated to other facilities by the time the GHCC closed, according to Heineman and the Herald-Register. 

Other long-term care and rehabilitation facilities continue to exist in and around Grinnell. The Mayflower Community offers long-term residential care for the elderly, and the Brookhaven Nursing Home in Brooklyn, IA offers both long-term and short-term rehabilitation care with physical and occupational therapies. The Montezuma Nursing and Rehabilitation Center also provides rehabilitation, long-term care and hospice. Those seeking rehabilitation or nursing services for an elderly patient can find more information about the services offered by these facilities on their websites. 

According to Heineman, 25 to 30 nursing homes across Iowa are closing, or likely to close, this year due to financial issues. Many of them have a high proportion of Medicaid recipients among residents. Several of the facilities that are closing are owned by corporations which hold the rights to multiple nursing homes. For example, the GHCC is owned by Chosen Health Care, an Indiana-based corporation.

In an interview with the Grinnell Herald-Register, Dion Schrack, the executive administrator at St. Francis Manor, said that most of the homes that are closing have experienced low resident numbers. Since less beds are filled, and many patients are Medicaid recipients, this causes the expenses per resident to rise as the cost of labor and operation is not spread largely among patients. The GHCC experienced this trend prior to their closing.

Chosen Healthcare announced its closure in early August. On Aug. 23, Hickory Recovery Network filed a letter of intent to Iowa state officials proposing the establishment of a psychiatric hospital in the building. 

The letter of intent stated that the Hickory Recovery Network is seeking a certificate of need. At this time, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has not granted the Hickory Recovery Network the certification to provide psychiatric treatment in Iowa.

According to the IDPH website, receiving a certificate of need requires an application to the IDPH before the development of a new health service — this can apply to hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient surgery centers or purchases of medical equipment. This review process must be considered by IDPH staff and the State Health Facilities Council before a new health service can be offered. 

Since the new services that might be offered by the Hickory Recovery Network’s hospital have not been reviewed by the IDPH, no plans have been put into motion about changes to the building, according to Building and Planning Director Tyler Avis, who said that he had not been contacted by anyone about changes and was only recently made aware of the possibility of a new entity coming into town. 

As of Oct. 4, the certificate of need has not been reviewed. Applications that are submitted before Dec. 12 have a possibility to be reviewed at a meeting on Jan. 31 by the IDPH board. 

The S&B did not receive a comment from the Hickory Recovery Network.