SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The community of Arlington is losing its nursing home. 

Avantara Arlington announced its plans to close in February, becoming the seventh nursing home to announce a closure in 2022. 

In a statement, the South Dakota Health Care Association said the reason for the Arlington closure is similar to other closures of nursing homes in the state – a combination of staffing crisis, costs related to COVID-19 and underfunded Medicaid reimbursement rates. 

According to the SDHCA, there have been 16 nursing home closures in the past six years for the communities of Armour, Bryant, Clear Lake, Custer, Elk Point, Florence, Hudson, Huron, Ipswich, Lennox, Madison, Mobridge, Sioux Falls, Rosholt, Salem and Tripp.  

In addition, the Wagner nursing home announced it would be closed for months after a fire on Election Day caused damage.

“Many nursing homes have now gone from crisis to catastrophe,” Mark B. Deak, SDHCA Executive Director said in an emailed statement. “Between longstanding Medicaid underfunding, the ongoing staffing crisis, and costs from COVID, nursing homes are facing unprecedented pressures. South Dakota communities where these closures have occurred are permanently losing access to a vitally important service for the elderly and disabled.”

The SDHCA says South Dakota’s Medicaid reimbursement rates are below all neighboring states and it only covers 70.5% of the costs of care.  

“Governor Noem is proposing a 21% Medicaid increase for nursing homes in her budget, which is very welcome news,” Deak said in a news release. “With the legislative session beginning soon, I hope lawmakers will also see the need for quick action. Otherwise, it is all but certain that there will be more closures to come.”