7 out of 10 Nursing Homes Say: ‘We Can’t Go On’

August 14, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is plunging U.S. nursing homes into a major financial crisis and many of them could go out of business, says a survey released by the industry’s trade association, the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, or AHCA/NCAL.

In a poll of nearly 500 nursing home operators, 72%, said they couldn’t keep going for another year under current conditions while 55%, said they were running at a loss. As politicians on Capitol Hill grapple with another rescue package, nearly all nursing home operators—92%—say they’ve received financial aid during the crisis, and 58% say they’ll face “significant” financial problems when it ends.

University of Alabama Health Administration professor Robert Weech-Maldonado, an expert in the field of nursing home economics, says the findings of the survey are credible and even unsurprising. The pandemic has forced homes to spend a lot more money, especially on extra staff and personal protective equipment.

“Nursing homes operate with low profit margins, so a crisis like this can really upset the whole industry,” he said. “This can be particularly the case for high Medicaid nursing homes, [many of which] were struggling financially even before the pandemic. Many of these nursing homes happen to be located in minority communities, which are also being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.”

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