NORTHGLENN, Colo. — Editor's Note: The day after this story aired, CDPHE provided Denver7 with information regarding Sunnyslope Estate's request for a license renewal.
NORTHGLENN, Colo. — Dozens of assisted living residents in Northglenn are just days away from having to find a new place to call home.
Dennis Quinn and his wife have owned and operated Sunnyslope Estate, an assisted living facility, for the past nine years. In a little more than a week, the facility may have to close its doors.
"I'm emotionally devastated," Quinn said. "I'm scared about where this goes for my wife and I because this is everything to us... we've invested everything into these people."
A total of 32 people live on the property, according to Quinn. Many of them live with various illnesses or conditions.
"We take care of the people who fall through all the cracks," the owner said. "The majority of the people who come to live with us have exhausted all of their options."
Quinn says he's exhausted all of his options.
"We had to apply for renewal of our license in July," he said. "We did the best we can to provide the state with everything they needed — and we did provide it. However, we were late in getting some paperwork in. Then the state started heaping fines on us [and] we didn't have the money to pay those fines."
In simpler terms, Quinn says the facility fell out of compliance due to "administrative issues" with the renewal of their license.
"No citings for our quality of care," he emphasized.
Quinn says he's holding out hope that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will offer some grace for the challenges he and his wife have faced during the pandemic.
"Because of our inability to get staffing and the cost of the operations, my wife and I were working seven days a week," he said. "There's only so much a person can do on their plate."
Quinn says he's been told residents must vacate the premises come May 18, but he's asked for an extension.
"There's no chance to place these people by May 18," he said. "Secondly, we're going to take care of them till the very last day."
For Brandon Goodwin, the potential closure brings tears.
"The first day I got here, I felt love," he said. "It's like a family."
Goodwin has lived at Sunnyslope Estate for only two months, but he's spent most of his life moving from facility to facility in an attempt to find the "right fit."
"The last eight months before coming here, I had to live with my dad because I was at another facility, and we were just not being treated right," Goodwin said.
Goodwin turned 33 last Saturday. He says most facilities won't accept his application because of his age or insurance.
The 33-year-old has diabetes and is also legally blind. Before coming to Sunnyslope, he says his will to live was low.
"I didn't take care of myself before," Goodwin said through tears. "If Sunnyslope stays open, it would mean a lot more happiness, more time on Earth, more people around me that care. [The Sunnyslope staff] don't look at me for my mistakes, they look at the future. These guys are awesome."
Denver7's request to CDPHE for additional information was returned the day after this story aired.
The below statement was provided.
"The Health Facilities and Emergency Medical Services Division is requiring Sunnyslope Estate Villa to move residents and close their building due to a lengthy history of violating state regulations and failure to renew their license. The division will ensure residents are relocated safely prior to closing the building.
The division began working with Sunnyslope Estate Villa in April 2019 after an investigation found failures to respect resident rights and properly administer medications at the facility. The facility failed to provide a plan to correct those issues, as required by law, and the division fined them for that failure in March 2020. The facility has ignored the division’s repeated notices advising of the steps and requirements for compliance, failed to pay the fine and also failed to renew their license in June 2020. In October 2020, after the division made repeated attempts to assist the facility to complete the license renewal process, the division took further enforcement actions by issuing a Notice of Invalid License and Renewal Denial to Sunnyslope Estate Villa.
Sunnyslope Estate Villa appealed the license denial with the Office of Administrative Courts and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The license denial was upheld for a final time on March 8, 2022.
On April 18, 2022, the division informed Sunnyslope Acres Villa that it must give its 32 residents a 30 day notice that it will close to give them time to find another facility with the help of their family members, case managers, and ombudsman staff. The division set a final closing date of . May 25, 2022, as is necessary to protect the health and wellbeing of the residents because the facility is no longer licensed to operate as an assisted living residence. On May 6, 2022, division staff visited the facility to make sure the facility had informed residents that the facility was no longer licensed to provide care, and the division coordinated assistance for the residents to find another facility. At this time, the division continues to work with case managers, ombudsman staff and facility staff to assist with the residents relocation and remains committed to resident safety during this transition period."
Quinn countered CDPHE's statement saying in part, "Sunnyslope Estate and the ownership have a long history of resident first focus. CDPHE requires a plan of correction to all allegations with or without due process. Several attempts were made to submit a POC but were denied. As far as resident rights are concerned. We never violate any of our resident rights as outlined by the State of Colorado. Accusations that were made came from past residents who left for non-payment. None could be substantiated."