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News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, June 9, 2022
Island Nursing Home continues to stonewall

by Leslie Landrigan

The Island Nursing Home board of directors has not responded to the Ad-Vantages’ request for answers to 14 questions asked by three former directors.

The former board members asked for information about the nursing home’s finances and the workings of the board in a letter to the editor of the Ad-Vantages. As of press time, board members Skip Greenlaw and Ronda Dodge have not responded to emails asking if they intend to answer the questions.

Stonington selectmen said at the June 6 meeting that the INH board has not been transparent since the nursing home’s closing in October. Town Manager Kathleen Billings said she has asked repeatedly for financial information from the board, but has been rebuffed.

Selectman John Steed said the community built the nursing home, and if the board had reached out to the community six months before it closed, the community could have been able to save it.

“This is more of the same problem—that the board didn’t consult the community,” said Steed. “The problem lies squarely on the board.”

Selectman Evelyn Duncan said the INH board doesn’t seem to be making any progress toward reopening. “The entire board should quit and a whole new board should be appointed,” she said.

The Island Nursing Home was for several decades the largest employer in the town of Deer Isle. Board members have not met with the select board or the town manager since announcing the closure nine months ago.

Board President Ronda Dodge met once with the Stonington select board in September. The board also held a Zoom meeting with community members.

The INH board published a redacted report from its consultant, Covenant Health Systems, in the Ad-Vantages. The report said the board wants to meet with the community in June to discuss the future of the facility.

Deer Isle selectman Joe Brown said at the June 2 select board meeting that he sees no point in meeting with the INH board until he’s seen INH’s audited financial statement.

Billings said the INH board is stonewalling the community. “They said they didn’t have to produce anything,” she said.

Billings said she had discussed reopening the nursing home that morning with William Montejo, director of the Division of Licensing and Certification in Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services.

“Mr. Montejo said, ‘Why don’t you talk to the board,’ I said, ‘They won’t talk.’”