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To the Editor:

“Nursing Homes Are Closing Across Rural America, Scattering Residents” (Mar. 4, 2019) describes the closure of Mobridge, South Dakota’s sole nursing home and the transfer of residents to distant communities.  It suggests that low Medicaid payments were the cause of the closure.  Unfortunately, the Times story leaves out an important part of the Mobridge nursing facility’s history.  In January 2017, Skyline Healthcare, a New Jersey-based company, assumed control of the Mobridge facility and 17 others (of 108 facilities) in South Dakota.  By April 2018, Skyline had stopped meeting payroll and paying vendors, abandoning more than 100 facilities across the country.  Like other states, South Dakota took over the Skyline facilities to make sure residents were cared for and had food and medicine.  Court-appointed receivers are now closing many of these facilities.  States and the federal government have abdicated their responsibility to ensure that owners and managers of nursing facilities are qualified and competent.  The results are chaos and hardship nationwide.

Toby S. Edelman
Senior Policy Attorney
Center for Medicare Advocacy

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