CEO Lynn Crowell of AVRMC said in his press release Monday that,       
according to the Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center Board of Directors Chairman Robert W. Blair, the AVRMC Board of Directors stands by its decision to close the AVRMC nursing home on March 31, 2020. This date unfortunately predates the approximate opening of the new nursing home in the fall of 2020 by about six months. The La Junta Health District, which is now working on the construction of the new nursing home, is financed by the sales tax adopted by voters in La Junta when the AVRMC originally announced the closure.

“The Colorado Department of Health and other licensing authorities will be notified of the closing date, and AVRMC’s license to operate a Nursing Home will be terminated at that time.  Regretfully, it will also be necessary to relocate current Nursing Home residents and employees who serve the Nursing Home facility.  AVRMC will try to integrate some of the current Nursing Home employees who are qualified into its hospital operation, but the majority of the 50 Nursing Home employees will no longer be employed by AVRMC.”

Johnnie DeLeon, chairman of the La Junta Health District Board charged with building a new nursing home, said, “It’s very disappointing to see AVRMC close their doors on the area’s at-risk adults. It’s unfortunate that they continue to struggle managing appropriate funding levels. You don’t see any of the other four nursing homes in the valley closing their doors. I hope that the AVRMC Board reconsiders their decision and waits until the new La Junta Nursing Home opens, so residents aren’t displaced.”

The closure is also unfortunate for the employees, for the new nursing home which  would be opportunity for employment will not yet be open. The architectural plans have been drawn, the financial backing is presently being secured, and ground will be broken this fall for the construction phase.

Visiting the hospital is one way of finding out how people there feel about the closing of the AVRMC Nursing Home before the new nursing home is finished.

Jan McNeff, once a registered nurse in Dr. Howard Stutzman’s office, has been a client at the nursing home for several years. She said, “They’re making plans about taking us out. They will be showing us nursing homes.”

Kathy Jamar, a staff registered nurse, said “I’ve been here pretty much 20 years, so I’m here to the end. I’ll hold out to the end and see what happens.”

Margaret Tafoya said, “I’ve been here 39 years and my goal was to make it to 40. Don’t know what I’ll do - leaving it in God’s hands.”

“None of us know,” came a voice from across the nursing station. “Have to finish my R.N. first.”

“It was out of the blue. I’ve been here six years. I really don’t know either,” said Dianna Plawski.