Nursing homes seek $347M to protect access to care
The Georgia Health Care Association today requested $347 million to protect access to skilled nursing homes in its submission to state leaders who will allocate billions in American Rescue Plan Act funds.
“Long term care providers across the state have responded to this crisis heroically, all while facing significant operational challenges and financial losses,” said Tony Marshall, president and CEO of GHCA. “The current financial conditions are simply not sustainable for our state's long term care communities, and a number of providers are facing difficult operational decisions that include limiting admissions and even closure at a time when Georgia's senior population is set to grow exponentially.”
Over the course of the public health emergency, the number of residents in the state's nursing homes fell dramatically. Statewide, occupancy fell from an overall average of 84.5% in December 2019 to 69.6% in February 2021, according to federal statistics. The current occupancy average is 72.2% as of July 2021, yet 27% of Georgia's nursing centers have a total occupancy at or below 64%.
“These reductions in occupancy have resulted in a devastating loss of revenue,” Marshall said. “Revenue losses of $31 million or more per month, as seen during the second half of 2020, continue to this day.
“Long term care providers have a critical need for additional financial resources to continue to remain viable to meet the needs of vulnerable Georgians during this period of recovery. The loss of revenues coupled with a huge jump in costs associated with enhanced infection prevention protocols, reporting mandates, and recruiting and retaining an adequate workforce have had a devastating impact.
“The name of the federal law that provided this funding has ‘rescue' in its title, and that's an accurate depiction of what we need. This sector is among the hardest hit, and its services help our most vulnerable citizens. We know the people of Georgia strongly support efforts to help our seniors and the frontline healthcare workers who serve them. Whether it's today or in the future, every Georgia family has a stake in protecting access to skilled care for their loved ones.”
The Georgia Health Care Association is a non-profit association of skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, and home and community based case managers called SOURCE. Advocates for Georgia's elderly since 1953, the Association represents the best interests of patients, residents and consumers as well as owners, administrators, and other personnel. GHCA strives to enhance the ability of its members to provide competent and compassionate care to meet the ever-changing health care needs of elderly Georgians. For more information, visit www.ghca.info.