Skilled Nursing News reported on a discussion involving national for-profit chain, SavaSeniorCare. The future is uncertain. The context of the discussion is how to proceed after COVID passes. Since the pandemic has led to severe occupancy declines for skilled nursing facilities, and less income because of the loss of short-term rehabilitation after elective surgeries, the industry is worried.
Of course, the national chains like SavaSeniorCare received millions from the federal government. The CARES Act alone provided millions to SavaSeniorCare. Politicians gave this windfall despite the ongoing False Claims Act against the chain pending in Tennessee. The financial incentives are providing the cash flow for operators to survive.
The Atlanta-based SavaSeniorCare has 200 facilities according to a June 2016 report from Provider magazine. COVID is a wake up call that will affect SavaSeniorCare’s future in the industry. SavaSeniorCare has seen a 10% decrease in total occupancy, for 14,100 in total occupancy now.
Ray Thivierge is executive vice president and chief strategy officer at SavaSeniorCare. He recently spoke at a webinar hosted by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care (NIC). He contends that COVID will have long-term implications of the industry.
“Longer range, those incentives are providing us an opportunity to get through the day and get through this period,” Thivierge said. “How are we going to operate these centers at a lower occupancy and still sustain the level of service we need to provide to our residents?” Thivierge explained the pandemic is forcing SavaSeniorCare to rethink everything from building layout to ventilation systems to PPE.
“We are a modern health care industry, and yet the only way for us to provide safe visits for our families right now, because of the state of our environments, is to have folks wave at their loved one through the window,” he said. “That’s a wake-up call. It’s got to be a wake-up call.”
The industry is concerned about public perception. Focus group show that people blame nursing homes for COVID deaths. They understand that the lack of preparation was reckless and caused by greed. Call us if you have any experiences with SavaSeniorCare.