The proposal to shift skilled nursing care from Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to Navigator Homes of Martha’s Vineyard has taken another step with the signing of a transfer agreement Friday, according to a press release.
The transfer agreement ultimately allows the shifting of licensed beds from Windemere to Navigator Homes pending state Department of Public Health approval, the release states.
“Basically it opens the door to the DPH process to transfer our licensed beds to Navigator,” hospital CEO Denise Schepici told The Times. “Without that, Navigator cannot take the USDA loan to fund the project.”
Schepici called it a “big milestone for our vision to become reality” at the Edgartown property.
Instead of being in a single facility with individual rooms, the Green House model features individual homes where each resident has their own living space and private bath, with a large communal kitchen and hearth space, as The Times has previously reported. The idea is to encourage independence and to avoid loneliness, boredom, and helplessness.
Navigator Homes, which is proposed on 26.4 acres at 490 Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road purchased by the hospital, would feature five homes clustered around a central outdoor gardening area. Each residence would include 14 private bedrooms, a central common area with a fireplace, and an open kitchen for family-style dining. Buildings for workforce housing for Navigator and hospital employees are also planned.
That project is currently under review by the Edgartown planning board and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. The DPH process runs parallel with the Island regulatory process.
Windermere residents and their families will not see a change in the care and services received, the release states. The same management team continues to oversee operations, and the same staff will provide care and support at the facility on the campus of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.
In a joint statement, hospital president CEO Denise Schepici and Navigator president and CEO David McDonough said, “Our collective vision is to create a community of care for our seniors, who want to stay on the Island and receive their care here. We look forward to the day with enthusiasm when we will meet this goal.”
The hospital has been working on a way to move on from Windemere for several years.
“Windemere is not sustainable,” Schepici said. “The building is becoming outdated per DPH standards. Without a new facility, our seniors will be forced to move off-Island, away from family and friends who live here, and that is the last thing we want for vital members of our community.”
The milestone in the project comes on the heels of the recent death of Renee Lohman, president and CEO of Navigator Elder Homes of NE, LLC, and Navigator Homes of Martha’s Vineyard.
Paddy Moore, Navigator board member and founder of Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard, promised “to continue the work in her honor and memory, providing the best skilled nursing care possible to elders on Martha’s Vineyard. We owe it to them.”
The official legal notice of the transfer agreement will be posted in the Cape Cod Times in the coming weeks, according to the release. Publication in a daily newspaper is a legal requirement under state regulations.