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Care regardless of ability to pay

Family members wait for the start of Pope Francis' encounter with the elderly in St. Peter's Square in 2014. In Vermont, Catholic Charities-run homes are fully licensed by the Vermont Division of Licensing and Protection as Level III Residential Care Homes. Medicaid provides about one third of the actual cost of caring for a resident. CNS photo by Paul Haring Family members wait for the start of Pope Francis' encounter with the elderly in St. Peter's Square in 2014. In Vermont, Catholic Charities-run homes are fully licensed by the Vermont Division of Licensing and Protection as Level III Residential Care Homes. Medicaid provides about one third of the actual cost of caring for a resident.
Vermont Catholic Charities Inc. provides quality care in its four eldercare residences regardless of a resident’s ability to pay.
 
In 2015, 77 percent of the residents received Medicaid.
 
“Our mission is to provide residents with a safe, caring and homelike environment where they can enjoy a pleasant living experience rooted in Christian dignity,” said Mary Beth Pinard, executive director of Vermont Catholic Charities. “For private pay residents, if they convert to Medicaid, they can stay with us and in their same room.  This isn’t the case every facility. Some facilities require residents to move once they have moved from private pay to Medicaid.”
 
Michaud Memorial Manor in Derby Line has 33 beds; Loretto Home and St. Joseph Kervick Residence in Rutland have a total of 107 beds including Loretto Home’s special care unit for residents assessed with higher physical and/or cognitive limitations. St. Joseph’s Residential Care Home in Burlington has 41 beds.
 
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington provides rent-free use the four residential care homes totaling $1.35 million annually because “our social mission is to care for the sick, the poor, the elderly regardless of their ability to pay,” pointed out Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne. “As Catholics, we are all called to put our faith into action and follow in the footsteps of Jesus.”
 
According to Jeanne Schmelzenbach, administrator of Loretto Home and St. Joseph Kervick Residence, 83 percent of the residents cannot afford the private pay rate and are subsidized by Catholic Charities. “This number has been increasing steadily over the past several years.” It was about 75 percent in 2014.
 
“We pride ourselves on providing exceptional resident care to all residents regardless of their ability to pay,” said Mary Belanger, administrator of St. Joseph’s Residential Care Home. “All our residents are provided the care and services that they need to thrive.”
 
The homes’ commitment to the dignity of all people comes from the Gospel, Catholic Charities and founders of the homes.
 
“Our commitment comes from the belief that we as a Catholic institution, give back to the residents in need with an open heart,” Belanger added.
 
“Our goal is to provide a homelike environment where everyone can enjoy a pleasant living experience and receive the assistance they need,” Schmelzenbach said.
 
The residential care homes provide personal care, general supervision, medication management and nursing overview to persons unable to live wholly independently but are not in need of the level of care provided in nursing homes.
 
According to Anne Steinberg, administrator of Michaud Memorial Manor, because of Vermont Catholic Charities dedication to serving those in need, the home is fortunate to be able to care for an unusually high number of Medicaid recipients – about 70 percent at Michaud. “The rate of reimbursement that Medicaid provides is relatively low, making it pretty cost prohibitive for most homes to accept a large percentage of Medicaid residents,” she said. “I feel very blessed to work for an organization that recognizes the importance of opening our doors to all those in need, regardless of payer source.”
 
“The Medicaid reimbursement helps us care for residents with higher care needs without needing to transfer them to a nursing home,” Belanger said, adding that the reimbursement helps but it is not enough to care for all the people in need in the community.
 
The Catholic Charities-run homes are fully licensed by the Vermont Division of Licensing and Protection as Level III Residential Care Homes. 
 
Medicaid provides about one third of the actual cost of caring for a resident.
 
“Catholic Charities and fiscal management of the homes enable us to support this underserved segment of our population,” Schmelzenbach said.
 
Vermont Catholic Magazine © 2016 Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington