Financial strife closes 7 nursing homes, state officials decline pleas for short term funding

EMILY SCHABACKER

Sometimes the tears win when Paula Small-Plenty talks about the closure of Big Horn Senior Living. Every single one of her residents are Big Horn County locals, but since the decision was made to close, the administrator has been frantically looking for their new homes, sometimes hundreds of miles away.

She’s made calls to nursing homes as far away as Wolf Point, a 267 mile trek from Hardin.

The senior living complex is one of about seven skilled nursing facilities in the state that have closed in 2022 due to anemic Medicaid reimbursement rates, staffing, wage pressures and inflation. Among the closures was Mountainview in Ronan. The 20 bed facility was 90% full and had a five-star rating from CMS. Now the facility is gone. 

Others include Valley View Estates in Hamilton, Bridger Rehab and Care Center in Bozeman, Hillside Health and Rehab in Missoula, Cedar Wood Villa in Red Lodge and Hi-Line Retirement in Malta, which switched from a nursing home to an assisted living facility. 

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The closures have not come as a surprise. Skilled nursing facility administrators and leaders in the industry have relentlessly contacted

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