Hancock Manor nursing home to close come April

By April some 70 residents and 82 employees of the Hancock Manor Nursing Home will need to find new situations for themselves as it was announced this week the 16-year-old facility would close.

The Vinfen Corporation, which owns and operates the 72-bed home, submitted a proposal to close it to the Department of Public Health on Feb. 9. It was quickly approved on Feb. 12. The company hopes to vacate the building by mid-April and put it on the open market.

"A lot of factors went into this. This was a very difficult decision," said Vinfen spokesperson Donna Rheaume. "Our priority is to transfer the patients to facilities that meet their needs."

Rheaume added that efforts were being made to absorb employees elsewhere in Vinfen's 300-plus program locations, but none are guaranteed jobs. Vinfen employs upwards of 2,000 employees statewide.

The facility was scheduled to make a move to Olmsted Green, a new residential development slowly springing up in Mattapan on Morton Street on the grounds of the old State Hospital, but a number of factors have nixed that plan, said Rheaume.

Hancock Manor, she said, has lost an average of $200,000 every year it has been in operation, creating an overall deficit of $3 million. Vinfen hoped to arrange for higher reimbursement rates from Medicaid, but their requests were not met, said Rheaume. Finally, HUD did not act on the non-profit's application for financing for the new facility, which would have been larger at over 120 beds.

Rheaume confirmed that Vinfen owns the building at 133 Hancock St., and plans to sell it. But she didn't know when or if any parties had expressed an interest in it.

"I think it's really too early in the process for that," she said.

Vinfen bought the land at a foreclosure auction for $287,900 in the early '90s under another corporate name. The three-quarter acre property today is likely among the company's most valuable assets.