From WPR, A Report Says Wisconsin’s Nursing Facilities Have Around 16,500 Vacant Positions.

Some nursing homes in Wisconsin are closing or losing money due to challenges covering costs and a shortage of workers. A 2018 report found the state’s roughly 400 nursing homes have around 16,500 vacant caregiver positions at long-term care facilities.

Providers and counties say the state’s low Medicaid reimbursement rate is largely to blame.

Owners of the Bethel Center nursing home in Arpin, located about 20 minutes from Marshfield, announced they would be closing the facility’s doors in January after years of financial losses, according to executive director Rhonda Kozik.

The facility, owned by Providence Health Group out of Tennessee, typically provided care for around 40 patients in the 111-bed nursing home serving rural residents in central Wisconsin. She said Medicaid reimbursement rates have been a challenge for the skilled nursing facility over the years.

“The reimbursement rates simply don’t cover our costs and the ability of facilities to cost-shift to other payers like Medicare and private pay has become more and more limited every year,” she said.

Kozik said the nursing home is transferring its remaining 28 residents to other facilities in the region, but she said they can only take a few at a time.

“Because they don’t have the staff to care for them,” she said. “While they have empty beds and they can go to other facilities, they struggle with having the staff just as much as anyone else.”