EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — Two western Wisconsin nursing homes are closing because of low Medicaid rates.

Dallas Care & Rehab in Barron County and Syverson Rehab and Health in Eau Claire County notified state officials last month of their plans to close, Wisconsin Public Radio reported . The facilities will have 120 days to relocate residents once the state approves the closures.

“The Syverson building has a very high percentage of Medicaid residents, and losses from the Medicaid program resulted in the inability to keep the building open,” said Michael Christensen, CEO of Grace Lutheran Communities, which owns Syverson.

Sixteen nursing homes have closed in the state since 2015, according to the Wisconsin Health Care Association.

Lawmakers approved a 2 percent increase for nursing homes in the most recent state budget. The average fee-for-service nursing home per diem also increased by more than 14 percent since 2011, said Claire Yunker, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health Services.

But nursing home officials said they’re still struggling to cover costs.

The rise in assisted living facilities may also contribute to the nursing home closures, state health officials said. Such facilities have fewer regulations and cost less to operate, officials said.

The Syverson facility was nearly full despite that competition, Christensen said.

“We actually last quarter we were filling an average of 55 of the 58 licensed beds,” Christensen said. “So this was not your typical nursing home closing. It was not competition. It was that the state does not fund appropriately.”

Wisconsin has more than 380 nursing homes, according to the Wisconsin Health Care Association.


Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org