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Hot Off The Press: Nursing Home Occupancy Improved Last Quarter

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By Steve Moran

The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) just released their 3rd quarter Skilled Nursing Data Reportwhich shows that occupancy is up this quarter over last by a very modest 14 basis points. There is also some encouraging data with respect to reimbursement.

Is This a Trend?

I spent some time talking to Bill Kaufmann and Beth Mace about the report and they wanted to make it clear that there would need to be at least a year of data to say there was a trend. In particular, the 4th quarter of the year (the one we are in right now) sometimes sees a spike because of flu so even if the next report shows an occupancy gain, it would not be fair to call that a new trend.

Other Highlights

  • Even with this tiny bump in occupancy, it is still down by around 1% over a year ago.

  • When you look at the report, you will see the occupancy rate for the most recent period is down and scratch your head about the discrepancy, at least I did. The time step in the report is monthly rather than quarterly, so while overall the third quarter was up, the last month was not, from the prior month.

  • The Medicaid patient day mix increased to an all-time high of 66.7%, which is not particularly encouraging since it is the lowest pay rate.

  • Private pay patient days stayed relatively static.

  • Medicaid patient day mix increased to a time-series high of 66.7%

  • There are significant differences between the urban and rural numbers that are worth exploring.

  • The Managed Medicare patient day mix barely went up, suggesting the increase in managed Medicare may be moderating.

The Confounding Part of Senior Living

In any industry sector, there are some organizations that do okay, some that are terrible, and some that have amazing numbers. Nowhere is this truer than the nursing home sector. These numbers suggest that maybe some of the challenges are decreasing but it continues to be a tough business that takes careful smart operators who do not have buildings saddled with stupid capital stacks.

The Problem with This Data . . . That I Don’t Get

The thing that would make this data a ton better is to have a larger sample size. Right now just 27 operators representing just under 1,500 nursing homes are contributing to this report. Maybe I am missing something that is obvious to you but not to me, but I can’t for the life of me understand why more organizations are not participating.  

If you do, you will get some terrific benchmark reports and NIC is crazy careful about protecting proprietary data. They will also make it nearly painless to participate and the data you will get from them will help you understand how your own nursing homes stack up, which means you have a competitive advantage.

If you are willing to talk to them about participation feel free to reach out to them directly or let me know, and I will make the connection for you.

You can access the report HERE.

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