Federal government stimulus funding such as the CARES Act allowed the nursing home industry to survive during the pandemic. Occupancy rates fell to the lowest level since data have been collected. The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) states the rate is only 71.7%. Occupancy declined 13.3 percentage points since February 2020.
Nursing homes demand the remaining money in the federal government’s coronavirus Provider Relief Fund. AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson promised “good news.” Industry lobbyists estimate $24.5 billion is left in the fund. Parkinson also stressed success comes down to four factors: state Medicaid rates, payor mix, financing and operational excellence.
The pandemic impacted the senior housing market but operators’ profits remained. What has helped the industry, especially in recent months, is the Covid-19 vaccine.
For some operators, dialysis services present an opportunity for SNFs to expand their ability to treat patients in place — and find their footing in a post-COVID world. By offering this service, SNFs can improve their census; the operator SavaSeniorCare, for instance, sees adding dialysis services to its SNFs as a way to strengthen census even amid the changes wrought by the pandemic.