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Montana's booming senior population must be met with an increase in skilled care nursing homes

May 14, 2018
by I Advance Senior Care
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Care facilities for the elderly, staffed with skilled medical technicians and trained nurses, will be in increasing demand in Montana as more and more Baby Boomers enter their golden years.

That rapid growth will create a market for skilled-care nursing homes, and as some companies move to get out of the business — it's risky and expensive — others are coming in to fill the void, like Chicago-based Legacy Healthcare, which sees an opportunity in Billings, according to the Billings Gazette.

On Feb. 1, Legacy bought Billings Health and Rehabilitation and Valley Health Care from the Goodman Group, which is headquartered outside Minneapolis, and renamed the facilities — Billings Health and Rehab is now Avantara and Valley Health Care is Bella Terra.

The skilled-care nursing facilities business, which is different from senior living and retirement communities, is complicated and oftentimes risky.

It has a health care component that plugs into the complex world of Medicare, Medicaid and insurance requirements and compliance. And it leans heavily on medically trained and certified staff, which is expensive to maintain. 

"We're such a highly regulated industry," said Jorel Underdahl, Montana Veterans’ Home administrator. "I think only the craziest of us are still here."

Montana is home to two state-owned veterans homes; both are skilled-care facilities. One, in Columbia Falls, is run by Underdahl, and the other, in Glendive, is run by a private management group. These companies are successful if they're dedicated to the work and learn to navigate the regulatory side of the business, Underdahl said. 

Read the full story at the Billings Gazette.