Bannister House, the financially-struggling, 125-year-old nursing facility in Providence known for its history of progressive care, took a major step back towards solvency this week when the state Department of Health allowed it to start accepting new residents again.
“Bannister can currently continue to admit new patients,” said DOH spokeswoman Christina Batastini, “as long as they disclose to the prospective resident and his/her family that the facility is in receivership.”
Bannister House went into receivership April 7. Last week employees launched an effort to win public support for the financially-struggling nursing facility. Receiver Richard Land recommended to DOH that Bannister be able to accept new patients and DOH agreed this week.
The decision won the approval of Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. “The ability to admit new residents helps put Bannister House on a path to solvency and is a very welcome development in our community effort to preserve an agency of great value and historic significance to the residents of Providence,” Elorza said in a statement.
And Bannister House staff was also encouraged by the news.
“Residents, family members, co-workers, and members of the community are very optimistic that we can save Bannister House,” said, Naomi Correia, a CNA for 24 years at Bannister. “For generations Bannister House has provided long term care to our community and we cannot afford to see it close.”
Bannister House was opened in 1890 as a retirement home for elderly African American women, many of whom were house servants who had no family to care for them. The facility was renamed after its benefactor Christiana Bannister, of whom there is a bust at the State House.