PENOBSCOT, Maine — Having lost its certifications for providing treatment to Medicaid and Medicare patients, Penobscot Nursing Home is now empty, according to a state official.

All former residents of the nursing home were relocated to federally approved health care facilities by July 11, John Martins, spokesman for Maine Department of Health and Human Services, said recently.

Where the patients have been moved to is considered confidential information and is not being disclosed, Martins said. In mid-June, when the nursing home was informed its certifications were being revoked, 31 patients were living at the facility, which was licensed for up to 54 patients, Martins has said. None of the patients has been identified publicly.

Forty residents of Northern Bay Residential Living Center, an assisted living facility located in the same building, were not affected by the termination order and have been allowed to stay.

According to the nursing home’s closure plan, which it was required to submit to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the facility assisted residents with finding openings at other Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes within 60 miles of Penobscot Nursing Home. A copy of the plan was obtained by the Bangor Daily News by filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the federal agency, which is part of Department of Health and Human Services.

The plan does not indicate specifically which nearby nursing homes were considered or which facilities accepted patients from Penobscot Nursing Home.

Multiple attempts to contact Janice McManus-Rackliff, administrator of the nursing home, have been unsuccessful.

The closure of the nursing home comes after at least two years of wrangling by the state to have it shut down. Penobscot Nursing Home and six other facilities in Maine owned by Connecticut-based Eagle Landing Residential Care Maine LLC have been in receivership since 2008.

In June, the Bangor Daily News obtained five reports written by federal officials listing deficiencies at Penobscot Nursing Home. Among the more serious concerns cited in the reports are an alleged sexual assault of a nursing home patient by an aide on March 26 and the death of another patient after a fall at the nursing home on April 29.

The reports do not identify anyone by name or gender, but the alleged sexual assault appears to be the same incident that led to criminal charges being filed against Sara Comtois, a former aide at the now-closed facility.

Comtois is facing two counts of gross sexual assault and one count of intentionally endangering the welfare of a dependent person, according to documents filed in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court in Ellsworth.

The reports also cited substandard physical conditions, such as stained ceiling tiles, peeling or torn wallpaper, worn furniture and residential sinks with hot water temperatures that exceeded 120 degrees.

Other cited deficiencies included substandard practices and conditions in the kitchen and laundry room, inadequate record keeping and insufficient physician visits. The reports indicated that patient medications at times were inadequately safeguarded, kept beyond their expiration dates or not administered.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....