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Wisconsin nursing homes face funding shortfalls, few workers

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MADISON, Wis. — Advocates say Wisconsin’s nearly 400 nursing facilities are in crisis due to a shortage of workers and the state’s low Medicaid reimbursement rate.

Health groups Wisconsin Health Care Association and LeadingAge Wisconsin have requested that lawmakers allocate about $83 million in the next two-year budget to help the state’s nursing facilities cover costs and avoid closure.

The association’s CEO, John Vander Meer, tells Wisconsin Public Radio that 27 skilled nursing facilities have closed since 2016. He says eight facilities have announced closures this year alone.

A report last year also identified about 16,500 vacancies at nursing facilities across Wisconsin.

Vander Meer says state data show Wisconsin’s skilled nursing facilities lose over $70 a day for every Medicaid patient they serve.

He says the challenges won’t be addressed in one budget.

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