Monday, October 15, 2018
The New York Times ran an article on the demand for nursing home beds. In the Nursing Home, Empty Beds and Quiet Halls opens by explaining that a once vibrant facility now stands closed due to a drop in demand. According to the article, "[t]he most recent quarterly survey from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care reported that nearly one nursing home bed in five now goes unused. ... Occupancy has reached 81.7 percent, the lowest level since the research organization began tracking this data in 2011, when it was nearly 87 percent." The occupancy rate has been trending downward; concomitantly facilities close, and according to the article, somewhere between 200-300 annually close. The article points out what you are likely thinking-with the number of baby boomers wouldn't the demand be increasing rather than decreasing?
The article hypothesizes as to why this may be occurring and suggests:
Increased regulations and more financial belt-tightening
Hospitals' use of observation status,which thus affects Medicare coverage for subsequent SNF care.
More surgeries on an out-patient basis
Increasing number of Medicare Advantage plans.
- Increased competition through other housing options
- The shift to Medicaid covering care in the community, with "Money Follows the Person [having] moved more than 75,000 residents out of nursing homes and back into community settings."
The article speculates whether this trend will reverse itself once the boomers start reaching 80 and beyond. The article also discusses whether the lower demand provides more options for those in need of nursing home care.