Heritage Rehabilitation’s Closure: A Symptom of Maine’s Healthcare Woes


Since 2020, Maine has lost more than ten nursing homes, and another is set to join the list.

Winthrop’s Heritage Rehabilitation and Living Center reportedly informed residents and their families on Monday that the facility would close within 60 days. The Maine Health Care Association (MHCA) confirmed that the 28-bed facility will close.

“I thought I was going to be sick because when we had to place her back in August there wasn’t anything any openings in other facilities],” Elizabeth Lewis, the daughter of a Heritage resident, said.

Lewis’ family claims the facility informed them that it was “no longer feasible for them to remain open.”

North Country Associates, which operates the Winthrop facility, did not return NEWS CENTER Maine’s calls for comment. However, the MHCA stated in an email that it was recently told of the closure.

“We recently learned about the latest terrible closure. Families and staff were recently contacted, and my understanding is that they want to issue a public statement shortly,” MHCA spokesperson Ben Hawkins wrote in an email.

According to MHCA, many of the closures during the last decade are the result of low MaineCare reimbursement rates, along with record inflation and increased labor expenses.

“It’s scary,” Lewis said. “You know, what are we supposed to do with our elderly who can’t take care of themselves anymore?”

Lewis said she was able to get her 91-year-old mother a seat at a different nursing facility, but she acknowledged that others may not have the same opportunity owing to a scarcity of available beds across the state.

Maine spoke with Maine Monitor Public Health reporter Rose Lundy, who conducted extensive research on Heritage Rehabilitation and Living Center in 2022 after it was placed on a Special Focus Facility Program list for failing to meet the standards of care set by the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“This list means that a nursing home has had a series of quality problems there,” Lundy told the audience. “Throughout my reporting, I learned that it was in response to two serious incidents that happened in late 2021.”

CMS was dissatisfied with the facility’s operations following two separate incidences in which individuals wandered away. One event resulted in the death of a resident who was hit by a vehicle. “It also was related to persistent and poor quality on the latest inspections,” she went on to say.

The facility remained on the Special Focus Facility Program list for nine months before “graduating” in November 2022.

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