Athena Health Systems will continue to provide quality care

The recently published article, “Lawsuits, Fines, Complaints Put Pressure on Athena Nursing Homes,” focused attention on several instances where our healthcare company’s performance during this unprecedentedly challenging three-year period, they have fallen short of what we have strived for in nearly four decades of providing quality, skilled nursing care in Connecticut and surrounding states.

However, the overwhelming evidence shows that Athena, in the vast majority of cases, including thousands of patient interactions each day, has provided and will continue to deliver a quality care experience for the patients and families we serve, even as we recognize the rare cases where the experience is less than what we strive to achieve every day.

Lorenzo Santelli

Here are just a few of countless examples of why Athena is known for providing a high-quality care experience in Connecticut and surrounding states:

  • At our 46 facilities in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, we provide a continuum of care services to our residents, including short-term rehabilitation, long-term care, respite, home care, hospice and private care. We have a track record in the longevity of our staff members.
  • Athena is a leader and pioneer and in 2015 started a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) program for patients who require those additional support services and require the skilled level of nursing care. We have helped thousands of successfully discharged SUD patients return to the community with support services in place.
  • Our Athena Ambassador program was successfully launched in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and is now ongoing in Connecticut. The program is designed to enable residents to have an advocate at our centers as well as to ensure adequate customer service is provided and communication is passed on to the appropriate management.
  • When COVID-19 hit the state of Connecticut, Athena established itself as a leader by being the only provider in the state to open two specialty recovery centers in the state and transforming two of our existing nursing homes into COVID-only buildings. We have also accepted and continue to accept all COVID hospitalizations in all our homes to meet the demands of hospitals. We have met the challenges presented by the pandemic head-on with dedication and grace to care for those affected by the disease, thereby saving the lives of many. We were on the frontlines when the complexities of COVID-19 were still unknown and have actively transformed our facilities to answer the call to care for the most vulnerable populations.

Labor shortages and the high cost of skilled employees have brought new challenges to our industry. Nursing homes are not alone in this. Hospitals and rehabilitation facilities across the country have all struggled to balance the need for high-quality care with rising costs for skilled labor. We are actively seeking solutions to the issues affecting nursing homes nationwide due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed the landscape of nursing care and labor availability.

The patients and families we serve, our valued employees, and communities throughout Connecticut should rest assured that Athena will continue to meet long-term care needs now and into the future. We will work tirelessly to ensure that our residents at our facilities receive the best possible care that will benefit their well-being and longevity.

Lawrence G. Santilli is president and chief executive officer of Athena Healthcare Systems, based in Farmington,

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