State abruptly closes Pasadena assisted living facility

Representatives with Texas Health and Human Services Commission helping move residents out of the Pine Tree Lodge assisted living facility in Pasadena. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

PASADENA, Texas – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is investigating the compliance of the Pine Tree Assisted Living facility in Pasadena.

The state abruptly closed the facility, citing several health and safety concerns.

In March, the facility was fined $4,500 for failing to meet requirements set by Texas HHSC for not maintaining an infection control policy. In 2020, the state cited the facility with 23 violations for several issues including not providing a safe and decent living environment, failing to keep it clean, and not following sanitary dishwashing procedures, etc.

On Wednesday, Mary Thompson spent the afternoon helping her mother move out of the facility she’s called home for 15 years.

“It’s a shocker. Nobody expected this,” Thompson said. “I’ve known stuff for a while, but we didn’t expect this though. You know, we thought they were fixing the issue.”

“HHSC does not take lightly any decision to close a facility and does so only in situations that pose an immediate risk to residents,” HHSC said in a statement regarding the closure, issued on Nov. 22.

Officials with the agency were at the facility Wednesday with assisted living facility management to try and relocate the 85 residents.

“It’s definitely hard,” said Demekia Luckett with Galleria Residence & Rehabilitation Center. “It’s not easy seeing a building close. So, we’re definitely trying to offer space for anybody that needs somewhere to go.”

Luckett says her team will take in some of the Pine Tree residents. She says the abrupt closure caught everyone off guard.

“The craziest thing about this is Thanksgiving is tomorrow and, you know, just knowing that these people will have to spend the holiday away from a place they call home,” Luckett said. “It’s got to be hard for them.”

Thompson says her mother is leaving her friends, but understands it’s a move the state needs to do.

Below is the full statement from Texas Health and Human Services Commission:

“Our top priority is the health and safety of the people in long-term care facilities we regulate, and we are actively investigating this facility.

When Texas HHSC determines an immediate threat to the health and safety of residents in an assisted living facility, we take steps to immediately safeguard residents. Depending on the pervasiveness and complexity of the threat, sometimes that includes HHSC ordering an emergency license suspension and closure of a facility.

HHSC issued an order for an emergency closure of this facility on Nov. 22 due to serious health and safety concerns. HHSC does not take lightly any decision to close a facility and does so only in situations that pose an immediate risk to residents. HHSC has staff on-site to assist the 85 residents at this facility in finding an alternative setting of their choice that can fully meet their needs.

During the closure process, HHSC staff stay on-site to ensure residents are safe while we find other appropriate facilities for them to relocate to; we may also dispatch nurses, nutritionists, social workers, and pharmacists to continue providing care as we work with residents and their guardians to find an appropriate facility for them.”

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