New developments in case of Emerald Bay Retirement Community evictions

FIRST ALERT EXCLUSIVE: Emerald Bay evictions
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 5:49 PM CST
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HOBART, Wis. (WBAY) - The people being evicted from the Emerald Bay Retirement Community will all have a place to go - before March 1st. That is what our reporter Jason Zimmerman was assured today after numerous conversations with health services officials and state lawmakers, plus a number of other agencies.

However, there’s no guarantee it will be in Brown County.

Those evicted have until February 28th to move out.

The facility, which is managed by Baka Enterprises, contends that those impacted should have learned about the cancellation of Medicaid contracts the first week of January from Lakeland Care District, their family care provider.

The company also said that it made an offer to retain their current members - and Lakeland Care District did not offer them an opportunity to negotiate.

The Green Bay area facility Emerald Bay has based its decision on the rising cost of running the operation, tied to inflation. Many people affected are struggling with the decision. Carey Bartlett is the daughter-in-law of one of the evicted residents: “I wish they would come here and sit down and face these people face-to-face and look them in the eye and say you know what, you have nothing left. You’re not worth any value anymore because they can’t make money off of them.”

A representative for State Senator Rob Cowles tells us that he’s aware of the Medicaid situation, and he’s looking into the issue.

We expect to hear more from the company, as they plan to take questions from us tomorrow morning. We will update you on the latest developments as soon as we learn them.

The following statement arrived minutes ago from Lakeland in our reporter’s email - we are publishing it unedited:

“In December, Lakeland Care, Inc. was notified that its members at the Emerald Bay Retirement Community were being charged over and above the negotiated rate. According to our Family Care and provider contracts, providers may not bill a member for covered or non-covered services - except in special circumstances that require prior approval. Our residential rates are determined, negotiated and locked into a contract, based on the individual needs of each member. Residential partners around the state honor the same rate structure with Lakeland Care.

After we notified Emerald Bay of their inability to charge members these additional fees, Emerald Bay notified us of their intent to terminate their contract on the afternoon of Wednesday, January 4, 2023. On Monday, January 9th, we began notifying and working with our members and legal decision makers on relocation plans. Emerald Bay notified us on January 17th that they would be issuing involuntary discharge notifications.

As of today, we have found new placements for six members, and are working diligently to ensure our remaining members find new care facilities as soon as possible. Our commitment remains to our members’ health and safety, and we are continuing to keep DHS apprised on this issue.”

In addition, Senator Rob Cowles sent this statement, also minutes ago:

“I am concerned by the news that yet another facility in our region is no longer accepting Medical Assistance patients. Moving ahead, in coordination with our nonpartisan service agencies, the Legislature needs to ensure that the burdens these facilities face are in the forefront of our minds as we kick-off discussions for the 2023-25 State Budget and continue in the 2023-24 Legislative Session, starting with the issue of the unreasonably short notice residents like these are provided considering their specialized living needs. For residents and families impacted by this decision, I’d encourage you to stay in contact your managed care organization and also reach-out to the Brown County Aging and Disability Resource Center to ensure that you’re prepared for these changes.”