Group Warns Of Unprecedented Wave Of Iowa Nursing Home Closures

Statewide Iowa — A new report has found the state’s nursing homes are facing significant financial challenges and there’s been an 11 percent decline in the workforce for Iowa’s senior care services since the start of the pandemic.

The report is from Leading Age Iowa, a group that represents non-profit assisted living centers, home health care services, and nursing homes. Matt Jahn is the Director of Health Services at Stonehill Communities in Dubuque, where there’s a long waiting list.

Nearly eight out of 10 Iowa nursing home managers say they’ve used temp agencies to fill staffing gaps. Julie Thorson is the President and CEO of Friendship Haven in Fort Dodge. She says they’re trying to hire and keep full-time staff.

The report from Leading Age Iowa found operating costs for providers of aging services increased by 16 percent during the past two years. The revenue from patient care, however, rose less than half that amount.

The Medicaid program pays for the care of over half of Iowa nursing home residents, but an analysis by the Iowa Health Care Association indicates Medicaid’s reimbursement rates fall about 20 percent short of actual costs. If Medicaid rates aren’t raised, the report from Leading Age Iowa concludes there will be an unprecedented wave of nursing home closures.

Last year, 17 nursing homes in Iowa closed and, since the beginning of this year, five more Iowa nursing homes have announced plans to close.

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