SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – With the announcement of two more nursing homes closing in South Dakota, one healthcare organization is highlighting the difficulties the industry faces. 

On Wednesday, the Good Samaritan Society announced two closures in South Dakota in Clear Lake and Lennox.

The South Dakota Health Care Association says in the past five years, 10% of licensed nursing home facilities have closed their doors. Joining the recent Clear Lake and Lennox closures are nursing homes in Ipswich, Custer, Hudson, Sioux Falls, Huron, Madison, Mobridge, Tripp, Bryant and Rosholt. 

“Nursing homes face unprecedented pressures right now. On top of years of Medicaid underfunding, they are also experiencing severe staffing shortages and have been on the front lines of the COVID battle for more than two years,” Mark Deak, the Executive Director of the SDHCA, said in a news release. “We are seeing empty beds in nursing homes, not because there isn’t a need for care, but because there aren’t enough staff to accept new admissions.”

A recent story from South Dakota News Watch highlighted the challenges rural nursing homes in South Dakota. 

SDHCA said South Dakota’s Medicaid reimbursement rates are significantly below all the neighboring states. Medicaid is used to pay for care for 55% of the total resident population in nursing homes, the SDHCA says. 

The Good Samaritan Society also announced a closure in Newell, Iowa. 

Lawmakers passed $30 million in one-time funding for nursing homes this year, but Deak said there’s still more work to do. 

“Communities across our state are losing access to services that allow their elderly loved ones to receive needed care near their family and friends. I fear that more closures are still to come,” Deak said.