Survey: Only one-quarter of nursing homes confident they will make it through next year

More than half of nursing homes and nearly half of assisted living communities say their organizations currently are operating at a loss — and only a quarter of nursing homes and assisted living communities are confident they can last a year or more.

The findings come from a recent survey by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, which represent more than 14,000 nursing homes, assisted living communities and other long-term care facilities across the country.

Other key findings include:

  • The Top 3 costs facilities have incurred due to COVID-19, regardless of whether they have had cases or not, are additional pay for staff, hiring additional staff and personal protective equipment.
  • In 2021, 84% of nursing homes said they are losing revenue due to fewer post-acute patients coming from the hospital.
  • 92% of nursing homes and 62% of assisted living facilities said the Provider Relief Fund has been helpful during COVID.
  • More than half of nursing homes and more than one-third of assisted living communities say that Medicaid fee-for-service is problematic in covering the actual cost to provide care to residents. Of those, more than one-quarter of both providers qualify it is a serious problem.

An analysis by AHCA/NCAL earlier this year estimated that the nursing home industry is expected to lose $94 billion over the course of the pandemic, and more than 1,800 facilities could close their doors. Closures are hard on vulnerable residents who are forced to move, their family members, who must often travel farther to see their loved ones, and dedicated caregivers who are out of a job.

Mark Parkinson, the CEO of AHCA/NCAL, said the impact of the pandemic still is being felt.

“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,” he said. “Too many facilities are operating under shoestring budgets simply because policymakers have failed to dedicate the proper resources, and this can have devastating consequences.”

Parkinson said lawmakers and public officials across the country must prioritize the residents and caregivers in nursing homes and assisted living communities.

“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 70-80% of nursing home care,” he said. “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.”