- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

SARATOGA, Wyo. (AP) - Residents of a Saratoga nursing home are in limbo after its Utah-based parent company stopped paying the bills last week.

Facing bankruptcy, Deseret Health group stopped paying for food, medical supplies, wages and benefits at Saratoga’s Deseret Health Care and Rehab, the Casper Star Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/1JEwOnz ).

The state has stepped in to provide temporary management at the home, but the facility’s future is unclear and its residents are unhappy.

“This is my home,” said Gloria Kendrick, 74, as she played with her friend’s dog in a nearby park on Monday afternoon. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Kendrick came to Saratoga from Virginia and has lived at Deseret Health care for six years. The climate has cleared up her asthma, she says.

Community members have rallied to help the nursing home. The Corbett Medical Foundation covered the staff’s bounced paychecks and volunteers have been bringing pets, guitars and flutes to entertain residents.

“The last two weeks have been emotional: There’s anger, then there’s crying, then there’s anger,” said community member Tonya Bartholomew.

The state’s original plan was to move all residents out as soon as possible, but it stopped relocating people after a Carbon County Commissioner Sue Jones urged the governor to give a potential buyer more time to purchase the business.

Jones and staff members at the home are hopeful that Deseret can work out a lease agreement Montana-based Health Management Services owner Joe Rude.

The state will reassess the situation on Friday.

Many residents had already left by the time the state made that decision.

In April, the home had 27 residents, but is population had dwindled to 12 by Monday.

Kathy McMorrow said she has already moved her mother to Rawlins. The change could reduce her formerly daily visits to about two a week.

McMorrow said she isn’t sure her mother understands why she had to leave her home of 18 months.

Deseret Health Group runs facilities in Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska and Utah. In addition to the Saratoga home, it is also closing a Rock Springs facility.

Its founder, Jon Robertson, served prison time and owed $150,000 in restitution to the IRS for filing a false tax return as president of another nursing home management company.

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Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com

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