The families of three Wallowa Valley Senior Living residents who were given 30 days’ notice by the facility to find alternative care breathed a sigh of relief as the facility rescinded the orders. WVSL officials originally told the families the residents were given notice because their needs exceeded the level of care WVSL provides.

The families of the residents had filed an appeal of the notices with the State of Oregon. At an informal conference June 17 on the WVSL premises, families of the three residents discussed their concerns individually with WVSL staff, and via phone with both a long-term care ombudsperson and an official from the Oregon Department of Human Services, which regulates long-term care facilities.

Annette Lathrop, whose father is one of the three residents, said that her mother received a call the following morning from Jennifer Olson, executive director of WVSL, saying that Artegan, the company that manages WVSL, had decided to rescind the notices.

Lathrop expressed relief at the decision. “We’re very thankful and grateful these orders were rescinded. I still plan to speak at the (June 22) health care board meeting about the process these families have gone through the last three weeks, the issues there for Wallowa County seniors and the disconnect between the health care board and the voters who passed the levy,” she said.

Lathrop said she sought to work through the process as a problem-solver. “I believe that by working together, some of these challenges can be met, but when we divide into groups we use up all our energy and don’t accomplish much. However, my personal level of trust with what’s happened over the last three weeks has eroded, and it will take some effort to rebuild it.”

WVSL’s Olson said, “We are thrilled that these three gentlemen are going to be able to stay in their home and that the state is willing to work with us. It has been clearly recognized that communities in rural areas face different challenges to be in compliance with the Oregon Administrative Rules than those in urban locations.”

At the June 22 Wallowa County Health Care District Board meeting, Lathrop and several other community members read letters to the board expressing a number of concerns, including the administration of WVSL as well as the facility’s problems in retaining qualified care employees.

Warren Page, co-owner of Artegan, said he and his staff were working to resolve staff and care issues.

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