Neighbors, health care professionals react to Sioux Falls nursing home closure

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Sioux Falls, S.D. - Another nursing home is closing its doors.

Tuesday Black Hills Receiver said they have proposed a plan to close Covington Care and Rehabilitation Center in Sioux Falls, but many wonder what this will mean for those living there and their families.

“I am very concerned about how many more we may see and it’s not just small communities as you are well aware in the last day or so with the closure here in Sioux Falls,” Avera Center for Public Policy Senior Vice President Deb Fischer-Clemens said.

Nursing centers throughout the state of South Dakota are closing their doors.

Covington Care and Rehabilitation Center in Sioux Falls will soon join that list.

The South Dakota Health Care Association saying it is the seventh closure in the last three years.

So what’s the cause?

“One it is definitely reimbursement,” Fischer-Clemens said. “That’s the greatest percentage of the issue is the reimbursement from the state and federal government and for individuals ability to pay for care. “The second reason is because of workforce.”

Darlys Thompson has lived across the street from Covington for more than 30 years.

“I had a friend that had physical over there and she turned out very well,” Thompson said. “They treated her very nicely, helped her out, a lot of different things.”

Now all of the residents at Covington will have to find a new place to stay.

“It’s really sad to know what’s going to happen to all those people because that’s been their home for a while and some for a long time,” Thompson said.

Sometimes that means traveling a distance to find a place with open beds.

“Individuals may have to go 10, 20, 30, 40, 60, 70, 80 miles to get to a nursing home,” Fischer-Clemens said. “So it will be a challenge for those families, a challenge for those residents. Whether it’s Tripp, whether it’s Madison, whether it’s Sioux Falls we all have the same scenario.”

“It’s hard for older people to move anyway and then to find out that you just have to be moved whether you want to be or not and what the new facility might have in store for them, who knows,” Thompson said.

Statement from the South Dakota Health Care Association:

“We are deeply saddened to learn of this latest closure, and the impact it will have on residents, their families, and staff. The long term care funding crisis in our state is unfortunately still ongoing. Though we made significant progress during the last legislative session, this makes clear that still more needs to be done to adequately fund care for elderly and disabled South Dakotans.”

Statement from Black Hills Receiver:

“Black Hills Receiver has determined that it is in the best interest of the residents, under the circumstances, to carefully plan for and pursue closure of Covington Care and Rehabilitation. After careful assessment and evaluation, the Receiver has made the very difficult decision to propose a plan to close Covington. The Receiver will provide the facility with a detailed closure plan in an effort to make this transition as smooth as possible for the residents, their families and the employees. Black Hills Receiver values each and every resident and will explore the best future care setting with each of them individually, along with their families and personal physicians.”

Statement from Department of Human Services:

“Closure of a nursing facility, particularly in smaller communities, is an emotional experience for residents and the community. The department, with full support of the Administration, is dedicated to shifting the face of long term care in South Dakota, creating more opportunities for community style living and reducing the reliance on aging nursing facilities as the primary residence. The appropriation of $5 Million in Nursing Home Innovation grants will be the first step toward transformation of long term services and supports in South Dakota.”