Only One Quarter of Nursing Homes Confident They’ll Survive the Year, Survey Shows

A survey revealed that 84% of nursing homes experienced a loss of revenue brought on by fewer post-acute patients coming from the hospital.

Survey results released by The American Health Care Association and National Center (AHCA/NCAL) revealed that only a quarter of nursing homes and assisted living communities feel confident that they can operate for at least another year at the mercy of the economic crisis affecting the industry.

The survey consisted of 616 nursing homes and 122 assisted living communities across the US.

About 54% of nursing homes and 49% of assisted living communities reported that their organization is operating at a loss, as many providers are still struggling to recover from economic shortcomings incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even though COVID cases in long-term care are at historic lows, providers are struggling to recover from the economic crisis the pandemic has induced. Too many facilities are operating under shoestring budgets simply because policymakers have failed to dedicate the proper resources, and this can have devastating consequences,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL said in a statement.

Long-term care facilities reported having higher-than-normal expenses during the pandemic, as they had to financially accommodate for additional pay for staff, hiring additional staff, and personal protective equipment (PPE). The survey revealed that 84% of nursing homes experienced a loss of revenue brought on by fewer post-acute patients coming from the hospital. Other losses of revenue came in part due to fewer residents seeking long-term care and current residents moving out.

Both increased expenses and lost revenue contributed to cuts made by 49% of both nursing homes and assisted living communities in 2021.

Despite financial hardships experienced during the pandemic, the Provider Relief Fund has been helpful, as reported by 92 percent of nursing homes and 62 percent of assisted living facilities. To restore economic stability of the long-term care industry, AHCA/NCAL is urging lawmakers to approve $20 billion for nursing homes and assisted living communities, whether it be through an enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage for long-term services or through the Provider Relief Fund.

Further, the AHCA/NCAL is urging lawmakers to address issues regarding Medicaid. The survey revealed that more than half of nursing homes and more than one-third of assisted living communities felt that Medicaid fee-for-service is ineffective in covering the cost of care to residents, and one-quarter of both these providers consider it a serious problem.

“Lawmakers and public officials across the country must prioritize the residents and caregivers in our nursing homes and assisted living communities,” said Parkinson. “This starts by sending immediate resources through what remains of the Provider Relief Fund, and it continues by finally addressing the chronic underfunding of Medicaid, which only covers 70 to 80 percent of nursing home care. We have laid out key proposals in our Care For Our Seniors Act to transform America’s nursing homes, but without the help from Congress and state legislators, these necessary reforms will not be possible.”

The AHCA/NCAL estimated that the nursing home industry is expected to lose $94 billion throughout the pandemic and suffer 1,800 facility closures, as determined by an analysis conducted earlier this year. Closures put caregivers out of jobs, force residents to move, and often requires loved ones to travel farther for visits with residents.

“We look forward to working with federal and state governments to ensure the stability of our care economy, so that every provider has the ability to deliver the highest quality of care. From being able to have an adequate supply of PPE to compensating caregivers for their heroic work, long term care facilities need financial assistance from lawmakers to keep serving our vulnerable residents,” said Parkinson.