Several long-term care facilities shutting down in rural Nebraska towns

According to the Nebraska Health Care Association (NHCA), four nursing homes and five assisted living facilities have been or will be shut down by the end of the year.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — There’s a growing concern among long-term health care facilities in Nebraska, especially in rural areas.

According to the Nebraska Health Care Association (NHCA), four nursing homes and five assisted living facilities have been or will be shut down by the end of the year. All but one of those places is in a rural town.

“We can’t continue to keep up,” said Jalene Carpenter, the CEO and president of NHCA.

Carpenter said 54 percent of their long-term care facilities are funded by Medicaid, which means that money comes from the state. However, that funding hasn’t been adjusted to the growing inflation across the country. Places are now having a hard time paying for supplies and salaries for employees.

“I like to equate it to airlines, as prices increase they raise ticket prices,” Carpenter said. “We don’t have the ability to raise ticket prices.”

Help might be coming at the beginning of the year though. Gov. Pete Ricketts announced last week he is requesting an additional $20 per day for every Medicaid resident at these facitities.

However, Carpenter said that will only be a short-term solution if it gets approved by CMS. She said their already underfunded about $40 per resident. The additional funds being requested by the governor are going to be used to offset some pandemic-related costs.

“It’s very much a band-aid,” Carpenter said. “One that we’re very grateful for because we’re obviously struggling.”

So every little bit of extra cash helps, but it’s still not enough to keep patients in places like Ravenna, Tecumseh and Valentine receiving care close to home.

“I think everyone who knows a rural Nebraskan, they are very dedicated and loyal to their town,” Carpenter said. “If they can’t receive the care the need where they grew up, that’s really hard.”

So what’s next?

Carpenter said it’s up to Nebraskans and state lawmakers to find solutions to the lack of funding for these long-term care facilities.

“It really is an issue in Nebraska are going to have to address soon to make sure elders are taken care of when and where they need it,” Carpenter said. “Let’s get creative. Let’s come together as Nebraskans and leverage technology and transportation. What do we need to do to as Nebraskans.”

Carpenter also said the current employees at these facilities are the true heroes.

“We may have open positions, but those jobs have to get done,” Carpenter said. “Those people who work in the facilities at the front line are amazing.”

Here’s a full breakdown of where and what places have or will shut down in Nebraska by the end of the year:

Nursing Homes

  • Belle Terrace (Tecumseh)
  • Good Samaritan Society (Arapahoe)
  • Good Samaritan Society (Ravenna)
  • Good Samaritan Society (Valentine)

Assisted Living Facilities

  • Westside Regency (Stanton)
  • Good Samaritan Society (Arapahoe)
  • Good Samaritan Society (Valentine)
  • Becky’s House (Omaha)
  • Parkside Manor (Stuart)
Categories: Nebraska News, News