The Closing of Wisconsin Nursing Homes and the Staffing Crisis Needs Everyones Attention.

Last Thursday was Valentine’s Day, but that day my heart was breaking.

It started as a pleasant Thursday.

  • The facility I consulted with had a deficiency-free survey — a great accomplishment for their team.
  • The WI DON Council received its provider number from the California Board of Registered Nursing.  A wonderful addition to offering continuing education hours to our members. 
  • I was appointed to be a part of the Wisconsin Dementia Task Force on behalf of the WI DON Council. A tremendous honor to advocate for our dementia resident on behalf of our members.

All in all, it had been a week of positives.  Then I heard the news.  Word was out that yet another facility in Milwaukee is closing.  The Director of Nursing, one of our members, and her staff are going through the challenge of closing a facility and displacing the elderly from what they know to call home.   It makes me sad. It makes me angry. It makes me worried.  Wisconsin, we should be scared. I’m scared!

Why Scared!

  • This announcement makes six nursing home announcing closures in the first seven weeks of 2019.
  • 27 nursing homes closed in 2016-2018.  Many of these closures were related to the  low Medicaid reimbursement rate.
  • When all is said and done, Wisconsin will have lost 33 long term care facilities since 2016.

Read on after you have had a moment to digest the figures above. How can we sustain this rate of closure? How can we continue to care for our most vulnerable population,  if homes are not around when they are needed. We all understand the push for home based care, however, those of us in skilled nursing facilities know that many times that is not possible.    

I feel this is a call to action. The information should be motivation to continue to speak out on behalf of our residents and our industry. We are burdened with an unsustainable staffing crisis, and the 2ndhighest rate of Medicaid revenue loss in the country. 

Please help to resolve this crisis, and show support to our elders and our industry.

Contact your Legislators and the Governor!   Make them aware of the crisis we face! 

Joey Petts BSN, RN, DNS-CT, WCC, DWC
Executive Director
Wisconsin Director of Nursing Council