Skilled nursing occupancy hits new record low

The skilled nursing industry set another record low in occupancy during the second quarter of 2018.

Skilled nursing facilities were 81.7% full during the quarter, according to the most recent set of data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), down 79 basis points from the first quarter and 137 basis points from the 83.1% figure seen at the same time last year, according to Skilled Nursing News.

Back in March, NIC reported a record-low occupancy figure of 81.6% for the first quarter of 2018; the data generally cannot be compared release to release due to changes in the exact groupings of facilities that submit data to NIC.

While NIC noted that the census declines were seen across the country, rural facilities were hit particularly hard, with an 89-basis-point drop between the first and second quarters. Still, there were some bright spots for non-urban providers during the last quarter: NIC health care analyst Liz Liberman pointed out that rural providers captured the greatest share of private-pay patient days with fewer managed Medicare days — 3% penetration as compared to 7.7% in urban areas.

Both managed Medicare and private payors tend to offer higher per-day reimbursements than Medicaid, making them more desirable for operators outside of the highest-paying Medicare residents. But in urban areas, competition for the relatively small crop of private pay residents is fiercer than in smaller rural markets, giving the providers there an advantage despite the lower occupancy numbers; in addition, rural operators derived 13.9% of their entire revenue from private payors in the second quarter.

Read the full story at Skilled Nursing News.

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