PAWHUSKA, Okla. – Officials say 20 residents in an Oklahoma nursing home will have to find a new place to stay due to the ongoing budget crisis.
While the next regular session is just weeks away, Oklahoma lawmakers are still struggling to agree on a budget.
In the meantime, officials at a local nursing home say a lack of funds is leading to the closure of one of Pawhuska’s largest employers.
This week, Pawhuska Nursing Home LLC broke the news to its 20 residents that it will be closing its door.
According to the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers, Oklahoma nursing homes have lost over $93 million in state and federal appropriations since 2010.
Pawhuska Nursing Home Owner Justing McGrew says that his staff is currently working with residents to find them other places to stay.
“These are elderly, often very sick and frail men and women,” said McGrew. “It is extremely difficult for them to be displaced from their home and their place of care. We are disappointed and saddened that we were not able to get the resources we need to keep the doors open here in Pawhuska.”
In addition to the displacement of 20 residents, officials say the closure is a major blow to the more than 30 employees at the facility.
“We have hardworking, selfless people here who are dedicated to providing good care,” said McGrew. “We value their work and the relationships we have with them, and we hate to see our employees out of a job.”
The Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers says that roughly one-third of the state’s nursing homes are at risk of closure.
“Our current level of funding is one of the lowest in the nation,” said OAHCP CEO Nico Gomez. “If we want to provide for our seniors and allow them to live in dignity and comfort, the current budget situation is unsustainable. We have got to get these facilities more resources or we will see more closures and more displacement of vulnerable and frail Oklahomans. I hope our lawmakers are paying attention and discussing solutions. Our senior citizens need to know that help is on the way.”