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Pawhuska Nursing Home shuttering due to state budget cuts

State budget cuts have forced Pawhuska Nursing Home to close its doors, leaving 20 residents looking for other housing and more than 30 employees without jobs. (KTUL)

PAWHUSKA, Okla. (KTUL) -- State budget cuts have forced Pawhuska Nursing Home to close its doors, leaving 20 residents looking for other housing and more than 30 employees without jobs.

According to the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers, Oklahoma's nursing homes, which rely heavily on Medicaid funding, have lost more than $93 million in state and federal appropriations since 2010.

The staff at Pawhuska Nursing Home, which has been open for more than 60 years, is currently working to find other accommodations for its residents, but owner Justin McGrew says relocation is difficult on them and their families.

“These are elderly, often very sick and frail men and women,” said McGrew. “It is extremely difficult for them to be displaced from their home and their place of care. We are disappointed and saddened that we were not able to get the resources we need to keep the doors open here in Pawhuska.”

McGrew says this is a loss to the local economy as the nursing home is one of Pawhuska's larger employers.

“We have hardworking, selfless people here who are dedicated to providing good care,” said McGrew. “We value their work and the relationships we have with them, and we hate to see our employees out of a job.”

The Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers estimates about a third of the state's nursing homes are at risk of closure.

“Our current level of funding is one of the lowest in the nation,” said OAHCP CEO Nico Gomez. “If we want to provide for our seniors and allow them to live in dignity and comfort, the current budget situation is unsustainable. We have got to get these facilities more resources or we will see more closures and more displacement of vulnerable and frail Oklahomans. I hope our lawmakers are paying attention and discussing solutions. Our senior citizens need to know that help is on the way.”

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