Why are nursing homes closing?

Edgar's picture

Prairie Doc

During one of our weekly hospice meetings, the discussion turned to the burden of finding an opening in a facility for one of our patients. Mr. A belongs to the working-poor segment of our society, just above official levels of poverty and yet he cannot afford health insurance and primary care, let alone the private cost of an assisted living center or nursing home.

Our patient is still living at home, has no family support and is in trouble. His progressive cancer has caused an inability even to do activities of daily living such as bowel and bladder care. He now only has Medicaid and his hospice nurse and social worker is not able to find an assisted living center or a nursing home that will take him in.

It’s no surprise that care facilities in South Dakota find it financially difficult to accept Medicaid patients like Mr. A. Without Medicaid expansion, facilities lose money when caring for them. If a nursing home has too many Medicaid patients, it simply can’t stay afloat. This explains why nursing homes, especially in rural areas, are closing.




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