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 Survey Shows the Financial Hardship SNFs Facing as Pandemic Rolls on

COVID-19 continues to have a dramatic and negative impact on skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) across the country as costs continue to escalate against slackening demand making government support all that much more important, according to a new survey of 463 SNFs conducted by the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) last week.

The key takeaways from the survey are that a majority (55 percent) of nursing homes are operating at a loss now (nearly 90 percent at a razor thin margin or loss) with 72 percent saying they won’t be able to sustain operations another year at the current pace. 

AHCA/NCAL said this has been largely driven by the increase in costs responding to COVID-19—personal protective equipment (PPE), additional staffing, and testing—and Medicaid’s underfunding, which only covers 70 percent to 80 percent of the actual cost of care. 

“Long term care was struggling financially prior to the pandemic, and now COVID-19 has only exacerbated the problem. It is important to note that nursing homes have been notoriously underfunded by the government,” AHCA/NCAL said. 

“When it comes to COVID-19 financial assistance, nursing homes have received only a fraction of what hospitals have received, and on top of that, no direct federal assistance has been provided to assisted living communities for COVID-19 yet.”

The association said with increased costs from fighting COVID-19 and the chronic Medicaid funding shortfall, long term care badly needs financial support from both federal and state governments. 

“Just like hospitals, we called for help. In our case, it was difficult to get anyone to listen for months, leaving devastating consequences for our residents and staff.  Plain and simple, whether it’s federal, state, or local health agencies, long term care needs to be a priority for help,” AHCA/NCAL said.  

The survey said 96 percent of SNFs have received some government funding (82 percent federal, 52 percent state), and nearly 60 percent will experience significant problems with increased costs and lost revenue when government funding ends.

AHCA/NCAL said 93 percent of those responding said government funding is very important to helping with COVID-related costs and losses.

Please see this pdf link to access the national survey of long term care providers.

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