Uncertainty over realistic nursing home census indicating “ongoing economic crisis” – News

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The nursing home industry may be way ahead of it this time last year in operational freedoms and security, but continued instability caused by the COVID pandemic -19 is perhaps no better embodied than the actual number of beds currently. Free.

No one knows what that exact number is.

The main stakeholders also do not seem to know when or how it will be established.

They know, however, that more help is needed, which puts them in a trap, as one analyst sees it. Without a solid understanding of occupancy levels, nursing home advocates are unable to fully articulate what is needed.

The larger nursing home association and lobby group agree that there are uncertainties.

“Occupancy rates may not give a complete picture of where the industry is today, but it’s about the best we have right now,” the American Health Care Association / National Center said. for Assisted Living. McKnight in a statement sent to McKnight. “The fact that occupancy rates have essentially stagnated since July is indicative of the current economic crisis.”

At the center of this costly debate is what a prominent industry expert calls a “quirk” which, he says, inadvertently puts suppliers in a healthier position than they are, thus costing them a bargaining power with federal decision-makers.

The occupancy rate of nursing homes nationwide is less than 70%, not more than 72%, as is generally touted, said Marc Zimmet, president and CEO of the nursing home group. Zimmet’s health. McKnight earlier this week. The hang-up comes from the fact that some establishments have intentionally taken beds, wings or floors offline and have not falsely flagged them as part of the possible available capacity.

Zimmet on Thursday doubled his projection that at least 55,000 beds have been taken out of service since the start of the pandemic, a number many others have called probably too high.

“If anything, my number is underrated,” he said McKnight. “55,000 beds put on hold make 3.7 beds per establishment. It is obvious. The question is progression – how many more are taken offline each month. If I had to guess, the number of inactive beds exceeds 100,000. It is anecdotal but unassailable that SNF’s total usable inventory is at least 50,000 beds less than the certified total.

The two major US nursing home associations have acknowledged that they are unsure of the volume of beds that have been inactivated, as well as how quickly or how high the number can climb.

“While we do not have precise data on how many beds or wings are taken offline, many providers are faced with limiting the number of residents they serve due to staff and financial issues,” said the ‘AHCA / NCAL in its comments. “From a recent [September] survey we have conducted, we know that 58% of retirement homes limit new admissions.

The group said the main reason for this is a lack of staff; over two-thirds (69%) of survey respondents said it was “very difficult” to recruit employees.

The executive survey data shared by the NIC on Thursday showed the same. Almost half of the operators with several properties reporting staff shortages between Nov. 8 and Dec. 5, the NIC said.

LeadingAge executives found much the same in an October survey of its members. This revealed that 40% of operators had had to restrict admissions and 25% had closed units, quarters or buildings, again due to insufficient staff availability.

“Not only does a labor shortage impact our ability to recover, but we also have to contend with the rising prices of temporary staffing agencies and inflation which increases their other operating costs.” , added the AHCA. “It’s not sustainable unless government officials step up and provide aid.

“If state and federal policymakers do not offer immediate help, we fear that this economic and workforce crisis will worsen in the first quarter of 2022, especially with more facility closures,” he continued. “Ultimately, this will have devastating consequences for the elderly in our country, limiting their access to care. ”

Zimmet maintains that providers can help themselves by documenting more precisely how low census levels really seem to be. Many providers only report the number of beds “staffed” or “active” to the NHSN’s federal database, not necessarily full certified levels, he noted. He calls it “a clerical error which only hints at the overall problem.”

Nursing homes nationwide have recovered just under 39% of lost occupancy since the low of 67.5% in December 2020, according to his calculations. His company’s EcapINTEL database details a “recovery index” For each state. The results range from an Oregon still low to Nevada, which has “recovered everything”. Other examples include West Virginia which has recovered 82% of its lost census, while Illinois and Mississippi occupy only 31%.

EcapINTEL analysts also predicted how many months each state might need to return to pre-pandemic levels, given recent statistical gains, provided steady improvements continue. California is projected at 10 months while Mississippi and Illinois could expect 13 months each; Pennsylvania, 15 months; and Oregon, 20 months).

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