SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Almost two dozen nursing homes across Iowa have either closed or announced they will close since the start of 2022, and an organization representing Iowa’s care providers is urging lawmakers to act.

LeadingAge Iowa released its first report Thursday on the current status of Iowa’s aging services. The data outlined showed a 11% decline in workers in the state’s nursing homes and care facilities. The staffing issue means that even if a facility can stay open, it has to reduce the number of residents it can accept.

Shannon Strikcler, the president of LeadingAge Iowa, told KCAU 9 that the shortage of workers ends up increasing costs.

“To make up for these staffing shortages, 83% of our members have had to rely on temporary agency staff. This drives up costs and puts a strain on the financial viability of our providers.”

Another factor outlined in the report shows a widening gap between the costs of care and Medicaid reimbursements.

To further complicate the issue, the report states that the fasting growing age groups are over the age of 65 as well as the 85+ population is forecast to grow 90% in 2040. In Iowa, the 65+ population is expected to be 20.3% of the state’s 2050 population.

LeadingAge Iowa said state lawmakers can increase these reimbursements to help nursing homes stay open.