The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) said a recent survey it commissioned shows why the immediate distribution of one or more vaccines to inoculate nursing homes residents and staff from the coronavirus is so vital to the survival of the sector.

Among the highlights from the survey is that 66 percent of nursing homes said they won’t make it another year given the current operating pace due to increased COVID costs.

Ninety percent of nursing homes, the survey said, are currently operating at a profit margin of 3 percent or less, and some 65 percent of centers are currently operating at a loss.

AHCA/NCAL said staffing has been the top cost in response to COVID, with nine out of 10 nursing homes surveyed saying they hired additional staff and/or are paying staff overtime. And, 58 percent of nursing homes said additional staff pay and hiring new staff were their top costs incurred due to COVID.
 
Further, 70 percent of nursing homes responding to the survey said they have hired additional staff, and nine out of 10 have asked current staff to work overtime and provided hero pay.

In response to the findings, Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of AHCA/NCAL, said the survey reinforces the need for Congress to pass another COVID relief package to replenish the Department of Health and Human Services Provider Relief Fund.
 
“Our nursing home providers are facing the worst financial crisis in the history of the industry due to increased costs related to COVID (testing, personal protective equipment, staffing) and chronic Medicaid underfunding,” he said.

“Without adequate resources, the U.S. will repeat the same mistakes made during the initial outbreak last spring. We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in long term care facilities, by passing another COVID relief package right away.”
 
Here is a link to a pdf version of a one-page executive summary of the survey results.