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New England has highest rate of nursing home closures in the U.S., according to report

FILE - Tina Sandri, CEO of Forest Hills of DC senior living facility, left, helps resident Courty Andrews back to her room, Dec. 8, 2022, in Washington. The federal government will, for the first time, dictate staffing levels at nursing homes, the Biden administration said Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, responding to systemic problems bared by mass COVID deaths.
Nathan Howard
/
AP
Tina Sandri, CEO of Forest Hills of DC senior living facility, left, helps resident Courty Andrews back to her room, Dec. 8, 2022, in Washington.

The rate of nursing home closures in New England since 2010 is three times that of the U.S. as a whole, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Senior policy analyst Riley Sullivan said nearly 15% of nursing homes in the region have closed, and Maine had the highest percentage, at 19%.

Sullivan said the primary driver behind the closures is that Medicaid reimbursement rates don't match the cost of care. But he said it's still surprising that closures in New England outpaced the rest of the country given that the region has the greatest share of older adults.

"It's possibly because we do have such a tight labor market," he said. "So labor costs in the region are higher than other parts of the country and reimbursement rates are pretty static across the country."

Sullivan said the closures will likely continue unless reimbursement rates are boosted. He said some states are also adopting policies that reduce demand on long term care. The Home Care Program in Massachusetts, for example, is designed to help people age in place.