AUGUSTA – A Bar Harbor nursing home will soon close its doors for good. It’s the latest in a series of facility closures across the state.
According to the Maine Health Care Association, the closure of the Sonogee Nursing Home on Mount Desert Island marks the seventh nursing facility closure since the beginning of 2018.
Authorities say there are number of factors playing into the closing of the facilities.
“It’s financial pressure, inadequate rates, they all lose money under the Mainecare program,” Maine Health Care Association President Rick Erb said. “Mainecare does provide the reimbursement for about two-thirds of their residents, so since they lose money on each of those it has to be made up somewhere else.”
Maine Health Care Association officials say another factor is an increased minimum wage for workers.
But overall, officials say the biggest issues are the lack of man power and competition from jobs in other areas.
“In the rural facilities, sometimes it is a matter of not having enough people living in the area. In a tourism economy like Bar Harbor, there is a lot of competition and people can make more money working shorter hours in other areas, so it’s tough for the nursing home to compete against that,” Erb said.
Erb says with costs increasing each year, it’s something that’s affecting the entire state.
“It is surprisingly well dispersed. We have had closures in Cumberland County, we’ve had closures in northern Penobscot County, in Washington County and now this one in Hancock County. It is a universal problem,” Erb said.
According to Erb, Maine Health Care Association officials plan to go to the legislature for extra funding.