The recently published article, “Lawsuits, fines, complaints put pressure on Athena Nursing Homes,” focused attention on several instances where our health care company’s performance during this unprecedented, three-year-long period of challenges was below what we have strived for in nearly four decades of providing quality, skilled nursing facility care in Connecticut and surrounding states.
However, the overwhelming evidence shows that Athena, in the vast majority of cases — comprising thousands of patient interactions each day — has delivered and will continue to ensure a quality care experience for the patients and families we serve, even as we acknowledge the rare instances where the experience is less than we strive to achieve every day.
Here are some of the countless examples of why Athena is known for delivering a high-quality care experience in Connecticut and surrounding states:
- Across our 46 facilities in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts we provide a continuum of care services for our residents, including short-term rehab, long-term care, respite, home care, hospice, and private care. We have a proven record in the longevity of our staff members.
- Athena is a leader and pioneer, and in 2015 initiated a substance-use disorder (SUD) program for patients who require those additional supportive services as well as required the skilled level of nursing care. We have helped thousands of patients afflicted with SUD discharge successfully back into the community with supportive services in place.
- Our Athena Ambassador program rolled out successfully in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and is now under way in Connecticut. The program is designed for residents to have an advocate at our centers, as well as to ensure proper customer service and communication is passed to the appropriate management.
- When COVID-19 hit the state of Connecticut, Athena established itself as a leader by being the only provider in the state to open two specialty recovery centers in the state as well as transforming two of our existing nursing homes into COVID-only buildings. We also accepted and continue to accept all COVID admissions into all our homes to meet the demands of the hospitals. We rose to the challenges presented by the pandemic head-on with dedication and grace in order to care for those afflicted with the illness, and thus saved the lives of many. We were on the front line when the complexities of COVID-19 were still unknown, and actively transformed our facilities to respond to the call to care for the most vulnerable populations.
The labor shortage and high cost of skilled employees has brought new challenges to our industry. Nursing homes are not alone in this. Hospitals and rehabilitation facilities across the country have all struggled to balance the need for high-quality care with rising costs of skilled labor. We are actively pursuing solutions to problems affecting nursing homes nationwide due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which changed the landscape of nursing and labor availability.
The patients and families we serve, our valued employees, and the communities across Connecticut should be assured that Athena will continue to meet the long-term care needs now and into the future. We will work tirelessly to ensure that our residents at our facilities get the best possible care to benefit their well-being and longevity.
Lawrence G. Santilli is President and Chief Executive Officer of Farmington-based Athena Healthcare Systems,