An Important Update from Wittenberg Village

August 9, 2022

Over the past two and a half years, the senior housing industry – particularly the skilled nursing sector – has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the subsequent labor crisis, and the sharp increases in the cost of goods, services and health insurance. Wittenberg Village is no exception and has too been impacted by these factors and conditions.

As good stewards of our mission and resources, we spent the last several months evaluating and analyzing all aspects of our business to ensure the success and longevity of Wittenberg Village.

As a result of that review, we’ve been faced with the difficult decision to close the Skilled Nursing building effective October 31, 2022.

Please know this decision was not made lightly and we understand the impact this brings to our valued team members, residents and families.

A transition plan has been established to assist our skilled nursing residents in finding new providers. Additionally, to honor the commitment we made to our residential living residents, we have entered a formal partnership with a local skilled nursing provider with a similar mission. Our new partner is ready to provide skilled nursing care to the residential living residents as a preferred provider.

Similarly, a plan is in place to support impacted team members. It is of utmost importance to us that we retain as many team members as possible within the Lutheran Life family – whether that be transitioning to another area of Wittenberg Village or another Lutheran Life community if possible.

Lutheran Life Communities remains fully committed to Wittenberg Village and the Crown Point market as we fulfill our mission of “empowering vibrant, grace-filled living across all generations”. There are no plans to close the rest of the community. Residential Living and Assisted Living will continue daily operations without interruption.

We understand the closure of Skilled Nursing may prompt immediate questions, and we’ve developed an FAQ below to help answer these questions.

Thank you for your understanding as we navigate this transition together.

Wittenberg Village FAQ

Specifically, what factors contributed to the decision to close Skilled Nursing? Over the past several months, labor costs at Wittenberg Village increased drastically. This is primarily due to the shortage of our clinical team members; we’ve had to supplement with agency staff, and the cost to do so is significantly more expensive. Additionally, in many cases, the reimbursement of health care costs is lower than what is needed to cover the rising costs of expenses, or to provide capital for improvements, which cannot be sustained. Therefore, we were faced with the difficult decision to close Skilled Nursing.

Are other Skilled Nursing communities closing across the country? Do we plan to close other Lutheran Life Health Centers? Unfortunately, we are not alone. Nationally, more than 300 skilled nursing communities (nursing homes) have closed and another 400 could shutter their doors yet this year. At this time, we have no plans to close Skilled Nursing at any other of our Lutheran Life communities.

What happens if all residents haven’t been transferred by October 31, 2022? It is our full intention and commitment to support all residents and their families until they’ve been safely relocated.

Are impacted team members eligible to transfer to other positions at Wittenberg Village or another Lutheran Life community? Yes. It is our goal to retain as many team members as possible within the Lutheran Life family, if possible.

What does this decision mean for the rest of Wittenberg Village? Are there plans to close other levels of living? There are no plans to close other levels of living. Residential Living and Assisted Living at Wittenberg Village will continue daily operations without interruption.

How will this impact Wittenberg Village’s designation as a CCRC / Life Plan community? There is no change to our CCRC designation. Residential Living and Assisted Living will continue to operate without interruption, and Skilled Nursing will now be provided to our residential living residents through a preferred partnership with another local skilled nursing provider in Crown Point.

How will the decision to close Skilled Nursing impact capital projects and future investment in the community going forward? Lutheran Life remains committed to the mission of Wittenberg Village. This includes continued commitment to all residents, families and team members. This also means continued investment in the physical spaces and in the quality of programs and services offered. The closing of the skilled nursing building should not impact that commitment.