UPDATE (12:07 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22): The owner of Grayson Assisted Living says that he took all the right steps in notifying the OHFLAC about his intent to close his facilities but that employees walked off the job on Thursday.
The owner of Grayson Assisted Living, Kevin Grayson sent 13 News the following statement:
The face of healthcare has changed since the 2020 Covid pandemic. Healthcare employment costs are soaring out of control along with goods and services in this broken economy and failed leadership in Washington, D.C.
Grayson Assisted Living Facilities, Inc. has been a State licensed Assisted Living long-term care provider since 2005. We are proud to say we never had a single case of COVID in either of our facilities and kept 100% of our staff and residents safe. The last few years of business have been difficult for my family mentally. In taking the proper steps to notify WV OHFLAC of our intent to permanently close the facilities by December 16th, 2022. I notified Kelli Cooper, Director of OHFLAC, by email of our intent on 9/16/2022. Once OHFLAC confirmed receipt and acknowledged understanding we began notifying employees and families of residents on 9/20/2022. Our plan was always to assist residents and families in finding a proper placement and making the transition as smooth as possible. Unfortunately, late yesterday, we were notified by employees at our Lavalette location that the employees were walking off the job and forcing our doors to close prematurely. We initiated emergency closure procedures, contacted 911, families, and transported the residents to local hospitals.
Alisha and I were saddened by the poor decision of our employees to walk out and force closure as it did; however, we had policies and procedures in place to protect every resident in the appropriate transfer of care. Without the ability to meet State staffing requirements due to a walkout we chose to initiate the Emergency Evacuation plan.
First, I would like to thank the first responders who arrived and professionally transported each and every resident safely. I would like to thank all the families we have served over the last 18 years. We truly cannot express our gratitude for allowing us to care for your loved ones over all these years. To our employees, we wish each and every one of you happiness, joy, and the true peace you may know by having Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
We ask at this time for privacy as we begin the transition process of the facilities to the new owners.Kevin Grayson
A spokesperson with the DHHR says that Mr. Grayson and his wife did indeed notify OHFLAC on Sept. 19 that they intended to close the facility in December of 2022 and that the DHHR was notified on Wednesday that residents were being transferred to local hospitals due to staff not showing up for work.
13 News is continuing its reporting on this story, and we will provide updates as any new information becomes available.
UPDATE: ( 11:24 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022) – It was a tough day filled with tears, confusion, and disbelief for residents and employees of the Grayson Assisted Living facilities in Huntington and Lavalette.
Lisa Caldwell, a residential aid with the facilities says Wednesday, she not only packed up belongings of vulnerable residents for whom she cares, but she also watched as ambulances and shuttles took them out of the place they call home.
“They had to wait until yesterday to let us know and come down here and take all our residents here today. I’ve seen my supervisor break down on me a couple of times today… I broke down. It’s been a really hard, hard situation today,” Caldwell says Wednesday evening.
Another employee tells 13 news they learned Tuesday that the owners planned to shut down in December because they didn’t have enough staff. Now, employees are also out of jobs, but their focus is on the people who were ripped from their homes and sent elsewhere.
Wednesday afternoon, residents in the facility could be seen being placed into vehicles, crying as they left with many with their belongings in garbage bags. Meanwhile, the facility’s representatives say they are not commenting on the situation at this time.
Caldwell says from all the staff “we just hope wherever they’re going, they’re going to be taken care of and treated well and knowing that we hear at Grayson loved them.”
A love, that couldn’t stop an abrupt ending to their time at this home as they now face an uncertain future.
A spokesperson from St. Mary’s Hospital in Huntington says they have accepted seven residents from the facility and they “are working with DHHR and other care facilities around the area to find an appropriate placement.”
As for the rest of the residents, 13 News will continue to work to find out where they are currently located as well.
WAYNE COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Residents at two assisted living facilities in Cabell and Wayne Counties were abruptly removed from their homes this afternoon, as the owner informed West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources the facilities were shutting down.
Cabell County EMS Director Gordon Merry says they received a mutual aid call from Wayne County 911 to pick residents up from the Lavalette branch of Grayson’s Assisted Living and transport them to an area hospital. Merry says they are also transporting residents from the other branch located in Huntington.
Wayne County Dispatchers say they received the call around 2 p.m. today, Wednesday, Sept. 21. Merry told WOWK 13 News he had no details at the time on why the residents were transported, but said several shuttles were used.
Both the Lavalette and Huntington branches of the company are owned by Kevin and Alisha Grayson, according to the DHHR. The DHHR also says they were informed of the closures today, and that Mr. Grayson will provide the required 30-day notice for closure to the facility’s residents and their families.
This is a developing story and WOWK 13 News is working to learn more information. We will update this story as we learn more details.