Wednesday, 12 December 2018 16:25

Record number of Maine nursing homes closed in 2018 Featured

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AUGUSTA- Even though Maine has the oldest population in the country, a record number of nursing homes have closed down this year.

Six nursing homes across the state closed this year, displacing hundreds of residents and workers.

Rick Erb, the president and CEO of the Maine Healthcare Association says the workforce is the biggest problem their facing.

"It's a universal problem for all of our members" he told me. "It's just difficult to keep up with wages and because of demand. Minimum wage increases are going up faster than the rates can"

This problem is dominant in rural areas.

Less populated areas don't have the economy to support higher rates.

As a result, the care needed becomes less accessible.

"They may have to drive 40 or 50 miles to the nearest facility. That becomes a real important factor"

Another issue is MaineCare, the state version of Medicaid.

The average cost for a day of care in a nursing home is around 250 dollars, but MaineCare only pays around 215 dollars a day.

When asked if there were any ideas on how to fix the nursing home shortage, Erb told said "we have a new legislative session about to start in January and we will be looking for money that was received with one time funding to be continued, but we're also looking for some reform in the payment models to help some of these facilities"

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