State and Local Governments: Nursing Home Closures Are Your Next Emergency

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

I’m passing along an op-ed published in my home state’s Des Moines Register on Sunday, October 25, 2020.  Consider the author’s comments as food for thought.  You’ll want to read the entire article.  I’m providing some excerpts to tweak your interest:

  • The American Health Care Association reports that 72% of facilities report that they will not be solvent within a year. That’s 11,448 insolvent nursing homes. Let’s assume several of those facilities make some arrangement to survive. Let’s assume we have 4,000 facilities reach a point of failing to operate. This represents massive health care and economic issues that can devastate health care delivery systems and communities.
  • We should not expect struggling nursing homes to be acquired by other operators at the same pace as had occurred prior to COVID-19. According to HealthCareMandA.com and as reported by PriceWaterhouseCooper, long term care merger and acquisitions deal volume is down 32.8% over last year. Perhaps more importantly, the value of long-term care deals is down 43.7% over last year.
  • When the rural nursing home closes, children and spouses are forced to drive sometimes more than 50 miles to the nearest facility where their loved one may need to move. Both the nursing home resident and their family are negatively impacted by the closure and a forced move. The closure of rural nursing homes leaves a much larger impact on the small, local economy.
  • If you work in municipal or state government leadership roles, including health departments at county and state levels, you should be gravely concerned, and prepared to act. Failure to do so will put lives in jeopardy, stress our health care delivery systems, and create significant economic pressures across many communities. The volume of potential closures, resident transitions and health risks may come quickly and without notice.

The author is Glen Roebuck.  He has “worked in leadership and executive roles in health care for over 30 years. He has provided leadership and consultation to hundreds of skilled nursing facilities across the United States and speaks on senior health care issues throughout the United States. He is currently the executive director of Home, Outpatient and Senior Services at Genesis Health System in Davenport.”  His contact information is provided at the end of the article.