LeadingAge Releases Nursing Home Closures and Trends Report

Explores Impact and Implications, Discusses Relationship to Occupancy and Reimbursement

Washington DC, Feb. 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- February 25, 2020 Washington D.C. -- LeadingAge, the association of mission-driven, aging- focused service providers, today announces the release of  “Nursing Home Closures and Trends: June 2015-June 2019.” The report provides a deep dive into national data on nursing home shutterings, an analysis of the causes, and recommendations on how to address the negative consequences of closures. Nursing homes provide critical services and supports, as well as housing, primarily to older adults. Oftentimes, they serve as a key employer in the communities of which they are a part. 

“We’ve seen a steadily increasing stream of headlines in recent years highlighting skilled nursing providers' closures. This is a concerning trend,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO, LeadingAge. “Today’s report offers a frank assessment of the potential shortage of skilled nursing and caregiving options our country may well face in the not-too-distant future.” 

The 19 page analysis of data drawn from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare database provides state-level versus national occupancy comparisons as well as insights into the hardest-hit geographic areas and the factors contributing to the closures trend. 

Key findings: 

◼More than 550 nursing homes have closed since June 2015; the number of nursing homes closing each year has increased.

◼Nursing home closures are not an issue with one specific cause. 

◼More than half of the closures took place in nine states (TX, IL, CA, OH, MA, WI, KS, NE and OK).

◼National nursing home average occupancy is decreasing, and many states are seeing large drops.

◼In several states, nursing home closures are concentrated in rural areas, leaving communities without access to much-needed care..

◼State Medicaid programs vary in how they reimburse nursing homes -- and most do not pay enough to cover the actual cost of nursing home care.

◼Quality is not a causal factor, as more than 40% of both closed and currently opened nursing homes have 4- or 5-star ratings.

As a result of this report, LeadingAge recommends the following next steps for policymakers and nursing homes: addressing Medicaid rate adequacy; a fresh evaluation of nursing home regulations and of the long term care survey process, the link to care outcomes and alternative strategies to assure quality nursing home care; a consideration of critical access nursing homes (in the spirit of the critical access hospital program); and the development of integrated residential and nonresidential services, in which skilled nursing providers would have a role. 

About LeadingAge: We represent more than 5,000 aging-focused organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we address critical issues by blending applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building. We bring together the most inventive minds in our field to support older adults as they age wherever they call home. We make America a better place to grow old. For more information: www.leadingage.org 


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