Robin Dale, President/CEO of the
Washington Health Care Association

A four-star rated nursing home in Washington state will close in September, citing a lack of state financial support that is putting pressure on many of the state’s long-term care providers.

Park Royal Health and Rehabilitation Center in Longview announced the news last week. 

Robin Dale, CEO of the Washington Health Care Association, said new minimum wage rates have underscored the struggle for providers like EmpRes Healthcare Management, which operates Park Royal and 18 other senior care facilities in Washington.

The state’s starting pay jumped 50 cents to $12 an hour in January, with the law calling for an increase to $13.50 an hour next year. The state’s minimum wage was $9.47 as recently as 2016.

“This results in insurmountable losses for facilities like Park Royal,” Dale told The Daily News. “We fear there are more nursing home closures on the horizon.”

About 60% of residents in Washington skilled nursing facilities are on Medicaid, and their payments are based on estimates of 2016 costs that have not been adjusted for inflation or increased staffing costs.

The direct care shortfall is now roughy $43 per patient day. The rate, unaddressed by state lawmakers in 2018, will be almost four years behind by the time it gets updated in 2020, Dale said.

“They’re going to have to address this,” Dale said. “The only question is how many facilities will close between now and then or between now and 2020.”

Park Royal’s planned closure is the state’s 17th nursing facility since 2017 to say it was shutting down due at least in part to the rising gap between Medicaid funding and the actual cost of caring for patients, according to the Washington Health Care Association.

Officials are working with the state to find new homes for the 38 residents who are living at the 50-bed facility.