Hundreds of investors, owners, operators, analysts, and other industry stakeholders attended the latest in NIC’s new series of Leadership Huddle events Wednesday. In the webinar portion of the event, which was sponsored by National Health Investors (NHI), they were treated to a virtual smorgasbord of insights and expert discussion around financing markets in seniors housing and care. Attendees who had opted to participate in the Zoom discussion breakout session that followed, continued the discussion, adding their own thoughts and experiences in small groups.
“Significant headway is being made to vaccinate residents and staff in seniors housing and care communities. According to 84 small, medium, and large seniors housing and skilled nursing operators from across the country—ranging in size from single-building operators to operators with hundreds of buildings across their portfolios of properties—considering all care segments, approximately 80% of residents and 50% of staff have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on average, and about 60% of residents and 45% of staff have received their second dose. While educating and motivating staff to be vaccinated continues to be cited as a challenge, the majority of organizations have not made the vaccine mandatory. Although one-quarter of respondents noted an increase in prospect interest specifically related to the availability of the vaccine, the survey data has yet to show an upward trend in occupancy. It will be interesting to see when the trend begins to reverse with greater penetration of the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks and months.”
Medicaid Revenue Per Patient Day Up But Cost of Care Still a Concern. NIC MAP® Data Service released its latest Skilled Nursing Monthly Report on February 4, 2021, which includes key monthly data points from January 2012 through November 2020. Here are some key takeaways from the report: Occupancy Occupancy continues to be challenged for skilled nursing properties, with the November 2020 occupancy rate falling to a new low of 74.2%. It was down 69 basis points from October (74.9%) and 11.2 percentage points from pre-pandemic levels in February 2020 (85.4%) and 10.7 percentage points from year-earlier levels. Since February 2020, COVID-19 has significantly impacted skilled nursing operations across the country due to high acuity levels of residents, pandemic-related deaths as well as fewer elective surgeries at hospitals which have resulted in less need for rehab services often provided by nursing care properties. As the country and the skilled nursing sector navigate through the Winter months and vaccine distributions, it is likely that occupancy will continue to face pressure.
Nursing homes have disproportionately suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, housing some of those most vulnerable to the virus. Over the past year, the rate of new COVID-19 cases among skilled nursing residents moved nearly in tandem with the rate of new cases within the nation as a whole. However, the distribution and administration of vaccines looks to be having an impact on this susceptible population.