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Survey: Many Long-Term Care Facilities Worry About Staying In Business

Published: Tuesday, August 25, 2020 - 9:57am
Updated: Monday, February 22, 2021 - 1:13pm

Many long-term care facilities are struggling to stay afloat financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A new survey from two long term care industry groups found that roughly half are operating at a loss, and many facilities are worried they won’t be around in another year if things stay the same.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living surveyed operators from nursing homes and assisted living facilities nationwide. 

So what broke the bank? Staffing and personal protective equipment were two big ones.

Karen Barno is with the Arizona Assisted Living Federation of America. Her group represents about 70% of the assisted living centers in the state.  

"So assisted living normally does not carry PPE," said Barno "So they had to run out and start buying PPE; the PPE market obviously when crazy prices kept going up and up. And if you were not a large provider, you had to bend to the demands of the open market with PPE, so that's been a huge money challenge."

Barno says many assisted living facilities also stopped taking new admissions, which affects revenue. And some families chose to bring their loved ones home, which also affects revenue.

"So you know, it's like the perfect storm for an industry that in February was booming and predicted to continue to be one of the fastest growing industries in the country."

Sixty-four percent of providers say they won’t be able to stay in business another year if costs stay the same and revenue is down. 

But personal protective equipment and staff are a piece of the financial puzzle. 

David Voepel is the CEO of the Arizona Health Care Association. He says places that had an outbreak spend a considerable amount of money deep cleaning rooms.

"That's the major hit that we're talking about that is totally on budget that you don't, you don't plan for that kind of thing," said Voepel. "I've heard numbers of $10,000 just for a small group home that held six people. Well, if you do that several times, you're going to be out of business."

Unlike assisted living facilities, nursing homes do receive federal dollars and the majority have received government support. Despite additional funding, nearly 60 percent said they will experience significant problems if or when the funding stops.

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