In early April, the non-profit San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living’s skilled nursing facility began accepting COVID-positive patients discharged from hospitals, under a directive from the state of California. Since then, none of its prior residents have been infected, nor have any of its staff taking care of the new COVID-positive patients, according to Daniel Ruth, the continuing care retirement community’s president and CEO.

To make this happen, Ruth told NPR that it required the facility to devote a separate wing to care for the COVID-positive patients, as well as a dedicated staff. He also took beds out of service, providing space for the staff to relax, shower and do laundry, which also protected them from infection.

“We obviously knew what the economic impact of doing that would be, but we felt [it was] part of our mission and values,” Ruth said, adding that he doesn’t think a for-profit SNF would have done the same.

Charlene Harrington, RN, PhD, FAAN, a professor of nursing and sociology at the University of California San Francisco, agreed and noted that too often, the financial interests of for-profit nursing homes come into conflict with their mission to care for older adults. The only way to change that, she added, is to fundamentally change the sector’s structure — and regulate SNFs like a utility.

“You would have very tough financial requirements, and you would have stricter requirements of who could become an owner,” Harrington told NPR. “And you would have very strict standards around their staffing and the way [operators] pay their staff and treat their staff.”

This article appeared in the McKnight’s Business Daily, a joint effort of McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

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