PAWHUSKA – Pawhuska Nursing Home LLC has informed its 20 residents that it is closing. The facility opened in 1956 and, with over 30 employees, is one of Pawhuska’s larger employers.
Like most of Oklahoma’s nursing homes, which rely heavily on Medicaid funding, the Pawhuska facility has been hit hard by budget cuts. Since 2010, Oklahoma nursing homes have lost over $93 million in state and federal appropriations, leaving many of them on the brink of insolvency and closure.
Pawhuska Nursing Home Owner Justin McGrew said that he and his staff are working with residents to find them alternative accommodations. However, any relocation plan is a major disruption in both their lives and the lives of their families.
“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.”
The closure is also a loss to the local economy and a major blow to the facility’s employees.
“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 (OAHCP), which represents the state’s skilled nursing facilities, estimates 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.”
The Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers represents the interest of more than 18,000 residents and 19,000 professionals that work in Oklahoma’s long-term care facilities. The mission of OAHCP is to assist its members in providing the highest quality care to the seniors, individuals with disabilities and vulnerable Oklahomans who live in our facilities. We advocate for the enhancement of that care so that Oklahoma long-term care residents may live in the comfort and dignity they deserve. For more information please visit www.oahcp.org