Two-thirds of the nursing homes and personal care facilities in the U.S. may not be in operation much longer because of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a national survey by two trade associations found.
The survey done recently done by the Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living said staffing has been the top cost, with nine out of 10 facilities hiring extra employees to meet the demand brought on by the pandemic. Also, more than 70% surveyed said they had to pay overtime.
“Our nursing home providers are facing the worst financial crisis in the history of the industry due to increased costs related to COVID and chronic Medicaid underfunding,” Mark Parkinson, president of the two associations, said in a statement. Besides staffing, extra costs include COVID-19 testing and personal protective equipment, he said.
“Without adequate resources, the U.S. will repeat the same mistakes made during the initial outbreak last spring,” Parkinson said. “We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in long term care facilities, by passing another COVID relief package right away.”
Other highlights of the survey show:
- 90% of the nursing homes are operating at a 3% profit margin or less, and 65% are operating at a loss; 10% said their profit margin is greater than 3%.
- 28% of the respondents said they could continue to remain in operation at the current pace for 12 months or more and 10% said they could remain open for one to three months.
- 86% provided bonus pay to staff, and 94% asked employees to work overtime or do double shifts.
Residents of the 200-plus nursing homes and personal care facilities in West Virginia could be particularly vulnerable if there are closures. State residents 70 and older make up 77.5% of the people who died from the virus.
Gov. Jim Justice said earlier this week that all elder care facilities have been given the vaccine.