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Emerald Bay explains eviction decision

Emerald Bay
Posted at 5:09 PM, Feb 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-06 11:38:13-05

HOBART (NBC 26) — Executives at BAKA Enterprises, the senior living management company for Emerald Bay Retirement Community & Memory Care in Hobart, held a virtual press conference Thursday morning to explain why they decided to evict some residents from the facility.

Sherley Hotlz, who has lived at Emerald Bay for four years, is among the residents who have been given an eviction notice. In the middle of January, Holtz's daughter Ann Marra received a phone call stating that her mom had to be out by the end of February.

"My mom is almost 91, she has dementia, she is on hospice and she knows the people there and they all know her and she feels comfortable there," Marra said. "As confused as she is now, it would be even worse. It would be just detrimental to her mental health. It's scary for so many people that they can do this to them. Just evict them in the middle of winter with not many choices to pick from."

Emerald Bay executives say that the decision to cancel Medicaid contracts is due to a combination of the unprecedented rise in costs associated with providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the low reimbursement rates received from Medicaid, which made it difficult to maintain a high standard of care. Legal fees further exacerbated the situation.

"It's difficult to have you know, finances come into play, but also the litigation, the aspect of if I don't like something in a contract that I signed that I was disclosed to clearly, prior to moving in that was explained to me as to why it was done that I'm just going to get an attorney and threaten this company and bully them into submission basically," said Barbara Bittner, chief operating officer of Baka Enterprises.

By canceling its Medicaid contracts, Emerald Bay officials say they'll be able to offset increased costs associated with providing assisted living services and keep future rent increases low for private pay residents.

Marra said when she spoke to the owner of Emerald Bay, she understood the need for more funding to cover services that Medicaid does not cover.

"I would like them to help the elderly more," Marra said. "They need more assistance, they need to be in good places with good care and not just be tossed around like a toy like somebody can just throw them out anytime. They run out of money, you know, they are not worth anything."