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Golden Ours Care Home in Grant placing 13 residents as the facility faces closure

Nationwide challenge affecting rural community facilities
Golden Ours Care Home in Grant is closing July 15.
Golden Ours Care Home in Grant is closing July 15.(Courtesy Photo)
Published: May. 21, 2022 at 2:35 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - CEO of Perkins County Health Services Neil Hilton has been closely involved, navigating through the rough season of COVID-19 as the PCHS board members and staff have searched for a solution to keep the doors open at the Golden Ours Convalescent Home in Grant. Hilton says the possibility of closing has been on the agenda for over a year, until ultimately Monday, a decision to close and consolidate services was made.

The main factors playing into the closing were staffing challenges and impacts related to the COVID pandemic, lack of adequate reimbursement from government assistance programs, and an increase in cost to hire temporary workers to fill open positions unable to be filled with permanent employees, and declining resident numbers.

The official date of closing for the facility that is over 50-years old is July 15, 2022. Hilton says after just four days after announcing the closure, eight of the 13 residents have plans for moving to another location, several of them to the Park Ridge Assisting Living Facility in Grant, a part of the PCHS network of health care in Perkins County. This closure announcement is one of many across Nebraska within the past few years, Hilton said

Here is the exact language of the motion duly made by the PCHS board:

  • The PCHS Board made the decision at its Monday, May 16, board meeting. Rumors of the potential closure have milled throughout the community for months, with several people expressing their opposition to the board directly and through letters to the editor about the importance of finding a solution to keep the home open. However, in the end, the ultimate decision came down to five board members who, according to Gengenbach, and Perkins County Health Services CEO Neil Hilton, have tried all avenues to keep the facility open.  

PCHS Board members are Mary Jo Gengenbach, president of the PCHS Board of Directors, Vice President John Long, Secretary Dianne Harms, Treasurer Richard Thurin, and Member Jeff Skeels.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) released a new report this week highlighting data that shows the growing number of nursing home closures since 2015 and projected closings in the months ahead.

“The pandemic has exacerbated longstanding financial and workforce challenges facing the long-term care industry, pushing many facilities to the brink of closure,” Hilton says this is exactly the case.

The report reinforces urgent calls for solutions to address the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and a historic workforce crisis.

Key findings from the report include:

  • More than 1,000 nursing homes have closed since 2015, including 776 closures before the pandemic and 327 closures during the pandemic.
  • Since 2015, nearly 45,000 nursing home residents have been displaced due to closures.
  • More than 400 nursing homes are projected to close in 2022 based on current financials.

Analyzing federal data, the AHCA report found nursing homes that close tend to be smaller facilities where the majority of residents rely on Medicaid. During the pandemic, nearly half of nursing homes were in rural communities, and an increasing proportion were not-for-profit.

Federal policymakers are considering potential cuts to nursing homes in 2022, such as a reduction to Medicare payments and ending the public health emergency (PHE), which offers enhanced Medicaid funding. The report also includes highlights from a recent study conducted by CLA (Clifton Larsen Allen), which forecasts what these cuts would mean for nursing homes, their residents, and their communities.

CLA projects in 2022:

  • 33-38 percent of nursing homes would be considered at financial risk.
  • 32-40 percent of residents (as many as 417,000 residents) would be living in nursing homes considered at financial risk.
  • 68 percent of U.S. counties would be home to nursing homes considered at financial risk.

Mark Parkinson, president of AHCA/NCAL included the following statement in the report, saying, “With hundreds of additional nursing home closures looming now and thousands more anticipated if government funding is cut, state and federal policymakers need to step up to support our social safety net. We need to do better than just keep nursing home doors open, we need to make significant investments to better support our frontline caregivers and transform facilities for a growing elderly population.”

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