Chandler Estate Senior Living Community To Close After 40 Years

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Scott Ball / Rivard Report

The Chandler Estate in Monte Vista is on the National Register of Historic Places.

After nearly 40 years of providing services to San Antonio seniors, the Chandler Estate in Monte Vista will close its doors on Feb. 28. Managers at the senior living community, owned and operated by Morningside Ministries, notified residents and employees of the forthcoming closure Tuesday.

Morningside Ministries President and CEO Patrick Crump said the faith-based nonprofit made the decision due to the increasing cost of care, insufficient Medicaid reimbursements per patient, and rising maintenance costs for the 130-year-old building, all of which made continued funding impossible.

“When the board saw the budget projections for 2018, they realized that [funding the Chandler Estate] wasn’t going to be sustainable any longer,” Crump said.

Roughly 75 percent of patients receiving independent living, assisted living, or skilled nursing services at the Chandler Estate pay through Medicaid, which reimburses the organization around $145 per patient per day, Crump said. But Morningside Ministries spends "well over $200 a day to care for [a patient]."

The Chandler estate, located at 1502 Howard St. and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, can accommodate 180 people. When Crump told the around 90 current residents about the closure, most "weren’t happy, [but] because we explained it with the intent to be transparent [about funding], I think they understood.”

There are no immediate plans to put the historic property up for sale, according to a Morninside Ministries press release.

The organization is working to transfer patients to sister facilities such as The Manor and The Meadows on the Northwest side and Menger Springs in Boerne, but nearly half of the current residents will have to find placement outside of the organization.

Of the facility's 130 employees, only 50 will be guaranteed continued employment with Morningside Ministries. Positions will be granted based on seniority.

While there are senior homes throughout Bexar County that currently accept Medicaid and have the capacity to take more patients, Crump said he worries that long-term care in Texas is “becoming more about the haves and the have-nots.”

“People that have resources always have good options, while people that have spent down their resources have fewer options to receive quality care,” he said.

Texas is “at the bottom of the barrel” when it comes to spending on long-term care for Medicaid recipients, Crump told the Rivard Report. And while the Department of Health and Human Services requires organizations to outline their spending per patient in annual reports, “Texas consistently does not fund or increase Medicaid anywhere near what it costs, [even though] their own reports show them what it takes to provide decent care,” he explained.

Medicaid is jointly funded between the federal and state government – the more the State puts in, the more the federal government contributes. Crump called the Texas Legislature's recent decisions on patient care “very short-sighted,” adding that state lawmakers need to “tie dollars to outcomes and what gets those outcomes.”

Those outcomes, according to Crump and a growing body of research, depend on increased staff-to-patient ratios that enable quality care. The State formally recognizes that providing high-quality care heeds better outcomes, and offers enhanced funding to facilities that maintain care options above the minimum requirement.

“They need to pay for quality,” Crump said. If lawmakers want elderly people to get well, “they have to pay providers to do the right things.”

George Linial, president and CEO of LeadingAge Texas, a trade association that represents nonprofit aging services providers statewide, told the Rivard Report that reimbursement rates in Texas are half of those in others states. "You can make up for some of that [money] with private pay and donations, but you can’t make it all up."

Linial said every day, 1,000 people in Texas turn 65; across the nation, it's more than 10,000. As the 65-plus population continues to age and develop health problems, there will be "more pressure to take care of them," he added.

He compared the closing of the Chandler Estate – and organizations like it throughout Texas that are succumbing to similar financial strains – to a slow bleed.

"As organizations get tighter and tighter with budgets, they try and figure out ways to make ends meet, and at a certain point they say they just can’t," Linial said. "At a certain point you cannot make it anymore, particularly because you hurt other residents," namely those paying out-of-pocket for the quality of care promised.

Of the nursing home residents in Texas, two-thirds are paid for through Medicaid funding, and the fastest growing segment of the population is 80 years and older, Linial said.

"There is no one answer in improving the quality and cost of care for our [aging populations], but it boils down to Texas making the commitment to take care of seniors."

13 thoughts on “Chandler Estate Senior Living Community To Close After 40 Years

  1. Frightening because there will be more and more of these cases. Criminal to treat people this way when the lege spends on unnecessary things. I know it is apples and oranges, but in a state where football coaches make Millions and seniors get booted out of care facilities and have no place to go, someone isn’t living right. Texas you could be better than this; new government needed.

  2. So very sad and frightening for those displaced elders and the employees too. I’m 62 and have worked retail most of my life usually making minimum wage. Currently still working and the apartments out there, are all competing with new apartments rates for rental properties that are new and modern. So the rents have increased for me by $50.00 plus every year. I’ve since moved into a smaller unit and I’m paying what I paid for larger unit 2 years ago. What will become of our Elder Community?

  3. Heartbreaking news, and closures will continue until we make our seniors a priority. We are leaving our elder community extremely vulnerable when they need us most. Thank you for posting this news.

  4. Chandler House has provided support for so many grandparents, parents and children. They were a wonderful facility & employees so kind. We are responsible for our elderly. Poor planing & as usual money spent on tourism, sports & celebrations that supposedly bring in money. But, who will take care of the elderly that have taken care of the generations before them. Sad statement for our community.

  5. The unwillingness of the Texas Legislature to confront critical issues of aging and children’s health constitutes criminal neglect. We the voter’s will also have to stand accountable for failing to advocate for our most vulnerable populations.

  6. There are other organizations who receive more than 75 percent of their revenue from Medicaid. How do they do it? A strong development plan to supplement the cost to serve the most vulnerable. I recommend to everyone to look at an organization’s finances and see how it corresponds with its mission.

  7. I understand closing Chandler due to increased operating and maintenance costs however, what is Texas prepared to due for it’s seniors that cannot afford the rising costs of living in a retirement facility? Elders that have to decide whether to buy food or pay the ridiculous cost of their meds. Elders that are not safe at home any longer but have no family to lean on. This problem is only going to get worse with baby boomers like myself that have tough decisions ahead. Prayers for the employees that will be out of work and prayers for the residents that will have to be relocated.

  8. I used to work at Chandler estates it is a good place to work and the residents are nice the staff all get along so sad to see it close .I worked there from 1992/1995 then in 2012/2014 and I have good memories

  9. This is extremely sad to hear as the former QA & Training Nurse at Chandler Estates. I wish all my former coworkers Godspeed. To the residents, I wish them piece of mind and goodwill.

  10. This is so very sad to hear. My mother was taken care of here and the care was wonderful. All staff were very caring and helpful. I do understand tho about the cost of caring for someone and how Medicaid doesn’t pay. My mother had Medicare and insurance that covered all cost. That’s what needed to keep Chandler open. My heart goes out to the residents who are loosing there safe homes (rooms).

  11. My husband was in rehab there last prong for two months. Fortunately Medicare paid most for 60 days and we had insurance and enough money for the rest but I was very aware of our good fortune and how difficult it was for staff to provide quality care under inadequate reimbursements. Texas has a problem already and the current Congress plans cuts to both Medicare and Medicaid. Truly Sad!

  12. This has to be really hard for everyone living and working at Chandler Estates. If we can help any of the residents looking for Senior Living Options, please call Heartis Senior Living. We offer assisted living and memory care suites. We are located in Shavano Park and have only been open a year. Call Deann at 210-492-1928 for information

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