Close up image of a caretaker helping older woman walk

Another operator is stepping back from skilled nursing care in Wisconsin as local providers continue to wrestle with low reimbursement rates and staffing shortages.

Brookfield, WI-based LindenGrove Communities announced Friday it would no longer provide long-term nursing care at three of its four facilities in the Milwaukee area. Those continuing care retirement communities will still offer assisted living and memory care, but the operator is beginning a months-long process of transitioning skilled nursing residents elsewhere, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. That brings the total nursing facility closures in Wisconsin this year to 14.

“This was a very challenging decision that was made after much thought and consideration,” President and CEO Linda Joel said in a statement, citing low Medicaid rates and labor challenges as factors “Making these changes in the type and level of services we offer will ensure that in the future we are able to manage the resources needed to staff our programs, continue to improve our facilities and to develop additional community-based services such as memory care and assisted living.”

About 150 residents receiving nursing care at locations in Waukesha, Menomonee Falls and Mukwonago will need to be relocated. LindenGrove said it plans to take months to transition its patients. It will use the old space to expand assisted living offerings. “We are not trying to rush people,” Joel added. “We want to make sure everyone finds the right place. We know how stressful this is.”

They’ll continue to offer skilled nursing care at a fourth location in New Berlin, and are not anticipating layoffs with these changes. The company reportedly lost almost $523,000 on revenue of $49.1 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017. It lost another $992,000 the previous fiscal year on revenue of $52.2 million, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Another 27 of Wisconsin’s nursing homes are currently in receivership, including all eight formerly operated by Dycora Transitional Health and Living. About 65% of the state’s nursing home residents are covered by Medicaid. Provider advocates are pushing for an additional $83 million to address the deepening funding crisis.