Even as home health providers had recovered most of the volume lost during the pandemic by July, a new study finds skilled nursing volumes had not seen nearly the same improvement.
The analysis by consultancy Avalere Health found the skilled nursing industry suffered a bigger volume hit than home health providers at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and patients are taking longer to return to nursing homes. In July, skilled nursing facilities were taking in 34% fewer Medicare fee-for-service patients from hospitals compared with a year earlier. Home health’s volumes from hospital discharges, meanwhile, were down just 1.8% in that time.
The pandemic has prompted people to avoid residential facilities for older adults, including skilled nursing facilities, and the trend could stick around even after the pandemic subsides. COVID-19 exposed longstanding infection control and staffing problems in skilled nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities.
Early on in the