Gunter’s Hilltop Haven closing doors March 16

GUNTER — After 65 years in the community, Hilltop Haven in Gunter will be closing its doors on March 16.

“It’s been a very hard, difficult decision. There’s been a lot of prayer and we aggressively pursued other solutions. Unfortunately none of the options provide a viable solution,” said Teresa Scott, senior vice president of Christian Care Centers, the not-for-profit organization the owns the Gunter nursing home as well as two other elderly care facilities in the D-FW Metroplex.

Scott said the facility’s 125 staff members were told in a meeting Wednesday morning, and workers spent the day calling the families of the approximately 120 residents. She said families will also be receiving letters explaining the decision.

The decision to close Hilltop Haven, Scott said, came after “significant, on-going financial losses.” She explained, the Gunter facility gets much of its revenue from Medicaid, and recent cuts have decreased that funding. The problem has been compounded, she said, by a desire among potential residents and their families to be more conveniently located to hospitals and increased competition.

“We can no longer sustain these losses and still provide the level of care that we do for the residents,” Scott said.

She said the staff will be scheduling individual family meetings to help residents find a new facility for their family members. “We will walk families through every step of this process,” Scott said. “Our primary concern is our residents, and we will do everything possible to help them find the best place.”

As for employees, the company plans to hold on-site job fairs to assist them, and employees may apply for positions at Christian Care Centers’ facilities in Mesquite and Ft. Worth. Both those facilities will continue operating as they have been, Scott said. “Those remain strong,” she added.

On the Christian Care Centers website, it is noted that the organization was founded on April 4, 1947 in Gunter under the name “Home for the Aged.” It was originally opened as a ministry to retired church of Christ ministers. The existing (at the time) Gunter Bible College housed the first residents, who were cared for by monetary donations from individuals and churches as well as neighbors’ contributions of cows, pigs, garden produce and other necessities.

In 1989 Hilltop Haven became the first area nursing community in the state to be certified for Alzheimer’s care. The campus is located at 308 East College in Gunter.