Genesis Healthcare is now requiring new residents or readmissions to be placed in quarantine units for 14 days prior to being transitioned into the general facility population in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It was just one of a handful of operating model changes that executives detailed to combat the novel coronavirus in each of the giant chain’s markets during a first-quarter earnings call Wednesday. The admission quarantine units were established in April. 

“Patients requiring medical necessary transfers out of the center for outpatient procedures, such as dialysis and chemotherapy, are also placed on the admission quarantine unit,” explained Richard Feifer, MD, MPH, chief medical officer for Genesis Healthcare. 

The changes have brought success for the company. Before the pandemic was apparent, Genesis’ medical and clinical teams implemented enhanced infection control precautions at facilities and have been following federal guidance. 

Of 224 infection control-focused surveys conducted at its facilities nationwide during the pandemic, 95% of them achieved a zero-deficiency rate.

“That is an incredible statistic and I want to commend the entire interdisciplinary team across the Genesis family for their diligence and success,” Feifer said.

More than one-third of the chain’s facilities (133 out of 361) are under self-imposed admission bans, executives added. The decision to lift self-imposed bans on admissions is done on a case-by-case basis and criteria include how well the disease has been stabilized and confined. 

“We will continue to be very conservative with regard to when we open centers up for new admissions. Whether there’s an outbreak of the virus, we will ensure that that outbreak has been controlled and confined to our satisfaction before we open facilities up for admission,” said Genesis Healthcare CEO George Hager. 

The Pennsylvania-based company also has established COVID-only treatment centers throughout Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. 

Executives noted that slightly more than half (187) of Genesis facilities have reported one or more positive coronavirus patients, residents and staff. Though it’s beginning to see a flattening of the curve with regard to new cases, Feifer said the company is going to continue to remain cautious even as “federal, state and local stay-at-home and social distancing orders, and recommendations are relaxed.” 

Overall, the company reported that occupancy dropped by nearly 7% in April and started to decrease following the halt of elective procedures and self-imposed admission bans. Genesis CFO Tom DiVittorio several markets have begun seeing more routine admission flow. 

“The fact that we have established COVID-dedicated buildings also is counterbalancing some of the previous decline in admissions and in occupancy,” DiVittorio said. “That’s been a stabilizing force and we expect it will continue to be. As we’ve adapted our operating model to function in a COVID environment, and we’ve developed these admission quarantine units too, that gives us a real opportunity to begin accepting admissions on a routine basis, as well.” 

Genesis also reported its GAAP revenue for the first quarter was $1.09 billion, while its GAAP net loss was $33.5 million. The company said the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an earnings loss of about $8 million.