Residents frustrated by Iowa County board decision to close rural nursing home

DODGEVILLE, Wis. — The Iowa County Board’s decision last week to close a rural Dodgeville nursing home has led to frustration among some county residents who feel their input was not considered.

Last Tuesday, the county board voted 15-5 to close the Bloomfield Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center west of Dodgeville once all residents have been placed elsewhere.

Bruce Paul has seen the positive impact Bloomfield can have firsthand with one of his own family members. He told News 3 Now he is frustrated by the county’s decision.

“I just feel like the people of Iowa County got shafted because nobody had any public input,” he said.

District 14 Supervisor John Meyers said closing Bloomfield was an incredibly tough call but a necessary one.

“It was probably the most difficult decision we have had to make at the county board level,” he said.

Meyers said the decision to close had three parts. First, Bloomfield’s current facility was outdated and needed to be entirely rebuilt.

“The building was failing. We needed to upgrade the building,” he said.

Meanwhile, it continued to see a decline in residents.

“We had dropped down from 100 beds, to 80 beds, then down to 65 and more recently down to 50. Currently, I think we are serving around 32 residents,” Meyers said.

On top of that, Bloomfield continues to deal with a staffing shortage.

The county spent more than $800,000 in 2021 alone to hire contracted staff.

“We have had to go to (an) agency where we pay two to three times the going rate to fill those vacant positions in order to maintain the level of service that we think our residents deserve to have,” Meyers said.

Current residents will be moved to nearby facilities. Staff will be offered severance pay as well as insurance coverage for three months following the Bloomfield shutdown, according to Meyers.