Forest Hill Nursing Home abruptly closing, workers want answers and paychecks

Workers at a Quad City nursing home say they were lied to about the facility closing and are looking for answers and their paychecks.

Employees at Forest Hill in East Moline say they received letters, dated November 19th, telling them the nursing home was closing because of “large financial losses.”  The letters told them not to expect paychecks until after November 26th, if then.

“Today is payday, and we came, and no checks,” said worker Rose Jackson.

“My phone is shut off right now and I was expecting my check to get my phone on. I got house payments, I got a grand baby coming,” said Anissa Sarazin, a housekeeper at the home.

Sarazin and other workers say over the past two weeks, elderly residents were suddenly being transported to other facilities in East Moline and Galesburg.  The workers say they were told the nursing home residents were going to be moved temporarily so Forest Hill could undergo some renovations.

On Tuesday, November 19, they say they found out that was not true.

“They said they were going to move them because they were going to fix the roof and the floors. It was a great big lie,” said Rose Jackson.

“They were trying to cover it up, like, everything is fine. ‘We’re just going to renovate,'”  said another worker, Beonca Jackson.

On Tuesday, a couple of elderly patients were seen with bags of clothing and other items as they were escorted from the building into white vans.  Bed frames, without mattresses, were stacked outside the facility.

“The residents are hurt the most, because we have a lot here that don’t realize what is happening. They’re scared,” said Rose Jackson.

Meloney Arnold, with the Illinois Department of Public Health, said the state was notified Forest Hill was closing the same day workers received the letters.

“This was unexpected. We did not know the facility was closing,” Arnold said. “We received notice today.”

By law, Arnold says the facility has to give residents 90 days notice to leave. Nearly all of the approximate 80 residents, though, have already been transferred to other facilities in East Moline and Galesburg.

Forest Hill is owned by Michael Lerner.  Calls to Forest Hill for comment were not returned.

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