STRUM, Wis. — A nursing home owner says he's closing his third and last facility in western Wisconsin because Medicaid payments don't cover care costs. He also cited increased competition for such services.
Jack Halbleib announced Monday that the Strum Area Health & Rehabilitation nursing home and its attached assisted-living housing will close in the coming months, the Leader-Telegram reported.
"This will be the third nursing home I have closed, all for the same exact reasons," said Halbleib, who closed the Fall Creek Valley Care Center earlier this year and the Gilman Care Center in 2014.
Halbleib has not yet set an exact closing date for the 46-bed nursing home. The state requires homes to stay open for up to three months as residents relocate, which would be early January for the Strum facility.
"People are just starting to make arrangements, look around, see which other facilities have openings," Halbleib said, adding that his staff is assisting residents with their relocation plans.
The nursing home currently has 28 residents. Halbleib said the facility often had between 32 and 35 residents last year.
Wisconsin is seeing declining nursing home numbers as more community-based settings for seniors grow. Such settings include in-home care, memory care and assisted-living facilities.
But in a small community like Strum, Halbleib said such services aren't available, which will result in people moving out of the area to communities like Whitehall, Mondovi, Pigeon Falls and Eau Claire.
"Anyone needing assisted living or nursing home care will have to go farther from home, and loved ones will have farther to travel for visits," said Dean Boehne, president of the Village Council.
Halbleib considered increasing the assisted living portion of the facility, but a market study found there isn't enough demand in the area to support a large expansion of that.