HARDIN - Big Horn County Commissioners and the Big Horn Hospital Association (BHHA) announced the closing of Big Horn Senior Living at a special meeting in the commissioner's meeting room on Thursday.
The hospital's board made the decision on Wednesday.
Some in Hardin have been hearing about that and had concerns. They had a chance to ask some questions at a special meeting.
The facility can take care of up to 40 seniors. Big Horn County owns the building and rents it to the association for Big Horn Senior Living, which is now losing money.
"Very hard decision for me being a lifelong resident," said Commissioner Larry Vandersloot, who is also a Big Horn Hospital Association board member. " I know a lot of these people are in a nursing home and it broke my heart to have to make this decision."
"It was the toughest decision we've ever had to make as a board of directors at the Big Horn County Hospital Association," said Thor Torske, BHHA board chair. "The issue that we have is the low Medicaid reimbursement rates."
According to the BHHA, Big Horn Senior Living is looking at more than a $1 million loss this year and without reimbursement from the hospital, the loss could reach $1.4 million.
While the decision was just made, many in Hardin have seen this coming and Billings would be the closest place for seniors. But that would not be convenient even if a family could find a place.
"The nursing homes in Billings, they have again their limited capacity," said Deb Isgrigg-Curtis, a Hardin resident. "There's two in Billings that are closing down that we heard of. And they can only take so many."
At the meeting, several citizens made comments:
- "People have seen this coming for years and they've not said anything to the people of Big Horn County."
- "I must have been living under a rock because I'm just learning stuff about what's going on."
- "This Medicaid problem has been going on for 20-30 years."
- "You all know my mother and my sister are in there and it means a lot to me. But I don't know the money it's good not going to work out."
The hospital management says it looked at many possibilities, but nothing including a mill levy is feasible.
While the closure is effective immediately, it is expected to take 60 to 90 days.