The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care released data showing that occupancy rates in skilled nursing facilities is on the decline. This bucks the typical trend of increased occupancy moving from the fourth to first quarter.
More treatment is transitioning into shorter stays and outpatient treatment in home settings that do not require residency in a nursing home. Skilled nursing facilities are expecting their business model to change in order to adapt to changing needs of patients and treatment trends. Also, some facilities are expected to close as they fall behind the times.
The report also found that revenue from mixed-Medicare and Medicaid is growing, indicating that these programs are an increasingly important source of care for those who need treatment.
Increasing Medicare and mixed-Medicare patients is another trend that the skilled nursing facility is learning to adapt to. Medicare funding accounts for approximately one third of residents at skilled nursing facilities.
It is becoming increasingly expensive nationwide for consumers to purchase care privately. Private revenue per patient day has increased to a six-year high of $262, and it is looking to trend further upwards.
Despite high costs, one would expect skilled nursing facilities to see increases in occupancy as the country’s population ages, but currently industry experts are left wondering why the uptick is yet to hit. It is unknown whether occupancy rates will continue to trend downwards, but the industry is not optimistic due to changing patients’ needs and desires.
More seniors want care at home and increased independence, and technological innovations including telemedicine make this more feasible.
However, as the population ages there will still be a demand for these skilled nursing facilities, and it will be a matter of which facilities survive the tough times and adapt to provide patients with the care they are calling for. Mergers and buy-outs of facilities might be on the horizon as a new hierarchy emerges in the skilled nursing industry.
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