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Much attention has been given of late to the properties or characteristics that have helped long-term care facilities stave off outbreaks of COVID-19. A new study led by University of North Carolina researcher Sheryl Zimmerman, Ph.D., reveals that 95% of nursing homes following the Green House model of care — which are designed for single-occupancy rooms — reported zero cases COVID-19 among residents or staff.

Researchers gathered coronavirus data from more than 3,200 seniors residing in 300 Green House homes between Feb. 1 and May 31. They found that COVID-19 cases remained low among both residents and staff and that the homes had a lower mortality rate from the virus compared to nursing homes overall.

Although it generally is understood that single-occupancy rooms inherently help mitigate the virus’ spread, many in the industry incorrectly assume that all Green House homes represent private-pay residents, said Lisa McCracken, director of senior living research and development with Ziegler Investment Banking.

“In fact, the original Green House home in Tupelo, MS, sponsored by Methodist Senior Services, has a payer mix of roughly 65% Medicaid residents,” McCracken noted in a recent Ziegler news article. “Nationally, roughly four out of 10 Green House residents are covered by Medicaid.”