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Red Lodge nursing home closes following June floods

Billings Gazette - 7/22/2022

Jul. 21—Officials announced the closure of Red Lodge nursing home Cedar Wood Villa on Thursday. The announcement comes after a string of rural nursing homes filed for voluntary closures in recent weeks.

When the floods hit Red Lodge on June 13, the residents of the nursing home were evacuated to Eagle Cliff Manor in Billings where they've stayed for the last six weeks.

While Cedar Wood Villas wasn't hit with flood damage, a recent assessment of the building's infrastructure led officials to submit a request to the state on Tuesday to close the facility, said Wendy Soulek, COO of the nursing home consulting company.

"It's been a challenge financially and there's been challenges with staffing anyhow," Soluek said. "We looked at the building, and there's a lot wrong with it."

The Red Lodge facility has capacity for 76 patients, but only had 27 residents at the time of the evacuation. Since then, some residents have been discharged or otherwise moved on, leaving 20 residents to stay at Eagle Cliff Manor.

But still "there are some from Red Lodge who want to stay," Soluek said. "It's been overwhelming."

Just last week Soluek broke similar news to staff and residents at Bridger Rehab and Care Center in Bozeman. The long-term care facility is also closing due financial and staffing issues. The residents will likely have to find other placements outside of the community.

Officials at Big Horn Senior Living in Hardin also announced a voluntary closure of the facility last week. It is the only skilled nursing facility in Big Horn County.

Soluek spoke with Gov. Greg Gianforte earlier this year, warning that nursing homes wouldn't survive without additional funding. The governor's office did not take any action.

"The state is flush with cash, but there's no money for nursing homes," Soluek said.


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