The closure of more than a dozen nursing homes throughout the state of Nebraska this year are causing an “economic ripple effect” on nearby towns, community members warned. 

Fourteen facilities have closed in the state this year, while a total of 31 nursing facilities have closed within the last three years, according to a report by ABC affiliate KETV.

The closures have forced families to place seniors in facilities further away from their homes. Businesses that were near closed facilities have also suffered from the loss of residents and employees. 

“We’ve lost those people who work there, the administrators and the charge account that we had,” grocery store manager Barb Barth told the news organization. 

Operators have stated the closures stem from facilities not being fully reimbursed for care it provides to residents on Medicaid. 

“It’s a pretty scary trend,” Heath Boddy, president and CEO of the Nebraska Health Care Association, said in the report. 

“Now, it’s getting to a point where our private pay residents, they not only have to pay their costs, but they are now having to pick up the state’s share. These facilities are going to get to the point where they can’t take Medicaid folks,” Ron Ross, president and CEO of Rural Health Development, added.