A recent survey of nursing homes found that more than 65% say they will no longer be in business by this time next year due to the added costs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report.
What are the details?
The 19th reported that according to a survey conducted by the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, "about 90 percent of nursing homes are operating at a loss or less than a 3 percent profit margin, and more than 65 percent said they will be forced to close within the year due to overwhelming pandemic-related costs."
Long-term care facilities are being crippled by the ongoing need for additional staff, personal protective equipment, and testing costs while residency — and therefore revenue — has gone down.
The outlet reported:
Many providers rely on short-term residents, including those recovering after surgeries, to cover the cost of long-term residents...That funding stream quickly dried up at the beginning of the pandemic as hospitals halted surgeries and families grew more and more reluctant to send their loved ones into nursing homes.
Lisa Sanders, a spokeswoman for health care association Leading Age, said, "As the pandemic wore on, it became clear that personal protective equipment — critical resources needed to do battle — were needed in volumes that had not been budgeted for."
The Associated Press reported Tuesday about nursing homes' struggles finding adequate staffing as workers contract the coronavirus or are forced to quarantine.
The shortages are pushing costs even higher in an industry where workers are critical.
Stephen Hanse, president and CEO of the New York State Health Facilities Association and the New York State Center for Assisted Living, told the AP, "We're also seeing staffing agencies take advantage of the pandemic and demanding very high prices for temporary staff."
He explained, "I recently heard of a staffing agency out-of-state from Vermont that wanted to come in and for certified nursing assistants, you had to pay the staffing agency $65 an hour."
Elderly folks are at the greatest risk of dying from COVID-19, and nursing home residents have been particularly vulnerable. According to WUSA-TV, "experts think close to 40 percent of U.S. COVID deaths are connected to long term care."
More than 400,000 people have died in the U.S. from the coronavirus since it emerged in the country more than a year ago.