Employees React To Health Center Closing, Jobs Lost
The state of Illinois is shutting down the Forest Hill Health and Rehab Center.
Most of the 75 patients at the home are either going to Riverwood Rehab or farther away to the Galesburg Terrace Nursing Home. The Department of Health and Human Services says this is all about financial reasons, not health violations.
Employees say they were originally told the facility would close temporarily for renovations.
"I live from paycheck to paycheck so I really don't know what I'm going to do," said can Rose Jackson.
Jackson is one of the many Forest Hill employees that were told in the form of a letter that they'd be out of a job by Friday. She says it all happened so fast, she doesn't know where to begin picking up the pieces.
"We are upset. We are hurt. We don't know what's going to happen next," said Jackson. "Not to mention that rent is due next week and we have no paychecks."
When we talked to the administrator of Forest Hill, Judy Scott, last week she told us residents would be temporarily moving to another facility after the roof and rooms were remodeled and once renovations were complete, they'd be moving back.
A nurse who wanted to remain anonymous told us employees were never told they'd lose their jobs in the process.
"Management has never told any employee face to face we are closing," the nurse said.
But management did however, hand them a letter today saying they were closing the facility for financial losses and that although payday is today, checks won't be available until November 26, a decision that employees say came at the wrong time.
"Everybody was counting on this last paycheck to get them through Thanksgiving," the nurse said. "The timing sucks because we got the holidays facing us".
And as the remaining residents of Forest Hill are escorted out to their new homes, employees say the facility's sudden closing leaves them both jobless and with an uncertain future.
"How can you do us the way that you did us?" said NA Doris Ross. "We've got bills to pay and kids to take care of."