Five Massachusetts skilled nursing facilities run by embattled Skyline Healthcare closed in May, as the operator faced ongoing inability to pay bills.

The state’s Department of Public Health revealed in late April that the Woodridge, NJ-based company had voluntarily surrendered licenses for its Bay State facilities. More than 200 residents at the five Southeastern Massachusetts SNFs were left scrambling to find new accommodations. 

After the nursing homes were ordered into receivership, certified nurse aides and residents at the Bedford Village location drew up a petition to stop the closures. They garnered scores of signatures from residents and families, but it was not enough.

“It’s devastating watching them cry and basically beg that they can stay in their house,” Elizabeth Nelson, an LPN, told local media.

The Massachusetts nursing homes had struggled to pay bills and missed payroll more than once. At least 76 Skyline SNFs have been placed into receivership across the U.S., McKnight’s has reported recently.

In Kansas, 15 of 22 Skyline nursing facilities were taken over by the state last year. Officials recently adopted new requirements for providers seeking state licenses. Operators now must provide detailed budgets for their first year of business, and provide proof they have funds to carry out those plans. When Kansas issued nursing home licenses for those nursing facilities in 2016, Skyline had already been missing payments to vendors, owing millions of dollars  in unpaid bills.

LeadingAge Kansas President and CEO Debra Harmon Zehr said providers support the new safeguards.

“We would like to see more like-minded operators in our state,” she told McKnight’s. “Raising the bar for incoming providers will be good for Kansas communities and our older citizens who require nursing home care.”