WakeMed closing 2 nursing centers at the end of the month - WNCT

WakeMed closing 2 nursing centers at the end of the month

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Sunday was the last day for patients at two nursing homes in Wake County to find a new place to live.

WakeMed is closing two skilled nursing centers as it lays off 97 employees to save money. The facilities are in Fuquay-Varina and Zebulon.

After WakeMed made the announcement in August, the 50 patients staying at the facilities were given until Sept. 8 to find a new home on their own.

WakeMed said it would find new facilities for any remaining patients after the eighth. WNCN stopped by both facilities, and nurses said only one or two patients were still living at the Fuquay-Varina location.

"This decision was one of the hardest decisions we'd ever have to do," said Elaine Rohlik, WakeMed's executive director for rehabilitation and trauma services.

Rohlik said the employees will be given the opportunity to apply for other positions at WakeMed.

"We believe almost everybody who wants to stay within WakeMed's system will have a job. We've held jobs over several weeks thinking that this was imminent," explained Rohlik.

Most of the cuts come from closing a nursing home in Fuquay-Varina that houses 36 people. The patients, who are unable to care for themselves and range in age from 23 to about 90, will be moved to other facilities. 

"We're going to be helping patients and their family members get through the shock of this first," said Rohlik. 

Closing the home in Fuquay-Varina and the one in Zebulon will save $4 million, Rohlik said. The Zebulon center has 14 patients. 

WakeMed said it will officially end operations on Sept. 30. A sign on the door says outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy will still continue at the Zebulon facility.

The hospital system expects to lose about $15 million in the fiscal year that ends next month. WakeMed said changes in state and federal policies will cost about $23 million in lost revenue in the coming year. 

Some of those being laid off are part-time employees. 

WakeMed has about 8,500 employees.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Born in California but growing up in South Carolina, Jonathan Rodriguez joined WNCN in June 2013 as a digital journalist. More>>

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