BILLINGS — A skilled nursing home in Columbus is the latest to announce a voluntary closure, making 10 nursing home closures across the state this year.
Beartooth Manor, a Lantis Enterprises property with 37 residents, will cease operations on Jan. 7, according to Wendy Soulek, COO of Lantis Enterprises. Residents and staff were notified on Monday.
Most recently, South Dakota-based Lantis announced Oct. 25 it was closing the Rocky Mountain Care Center in Helena, attached to the old St. John’s Hospital at 30 S. Rodney St. Officials said they would help relocate its 25 residents.
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The Columbus closure notice was sudden and unexpected, having mostly to do with unaffordable agency staff, said Soulek.
To bring on a licensed practical nurse through an agency the wages alone were more than $80 an hour. Then, the workers travel expenses and housing costs would also have to be carved from the nursing home’s budget that is already bare bones.
Not to mention, housing prices in the rural community have surpassed the working person’s wage, Soulek said. Even if she could find permanent health care workers, there would be nowhere for them to live.
“We can’t afford agency staff. There