‘Who will take care of us?’: Montana’s nursing homes disappearing at an alarming rate
In the past six months, Montana has lost approximately 10 percent of its nursing home beds throughout the state as seven nursing homes have announced they are closing because they can’t continue to sustain a loss of more than $100 per day on each resident.
The problem, which has been most pronounced in rural communities, is creeping into some of the state’s largest cities. Bozeman has seen its largest nursing home provider close, leaving just one facility with a maximum capacity of 69 beds to serve the community, which is experiencing explosive growth, averaging 3 percent per year, or adding nearly 3,000 people annually.
Even the future of that nursing home is questionable as Gallatin County seeks a mill levy to keep those beds available.
Experts in the field say the problem could and likely will get much worse before it improves because the two factors fueling the closures – low reimbursement rates and high staffing costs – don’t have quick-fix solutions.