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Northwest Minn. nursing home to close in December

CLEARBROOK, Minn.—A northwest Minnesota nursing home is set to close this winter.

Staff at the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society announced Monday that the society's skilled nursing facility in Clearbrook will close Dec. 8. Staff will help residents find new housing in Clearwater County and adjoining counties and help the facility's roughly 50 employees find new jobs or transfer to possible openings at a different Good Samaritan home.

The Clearbrook location offers hospice and memory care, outpatient therapy and rehabilitation services for about 30 residents. But the building's capacity is roughly 100 people, said Michael Deuth, executive director of the society's Northern Minnesota division. The Clearbrook home has struggled financially for 10-15 years, he said, and staff there struggled to find money for a new roof or to get the building up to code after federal regulators classified it differently than the state.

"There's been recent legislation that has helped, but when we look at the overall scope of what needs to be done with the building, it's just not enough to make it work," Deuth said.

Staffing shortages were also a problem, he added.

The Good Samaritan Society and its affiliates posted multi-million dollar operating deficits in 2015 and 2016, according to public audit and tax documents, but Deuth and other staff said the Clearbrook location was more or less independent, financially, and the closure is unrelated.

Joe Bowen

Joe Bowen covers education and health for the Bemidji Pioneer.

He is a Minneapolis native and a 2009 graduate of St. John's University. Before moving to Bemidji, Bowen covered education, local politics, crime, and everything in between for the Perham Focus in Perham, Minnesota, and Sun Newspapers in suburban Minneapolis.

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