Skilled nursing occupancy for July was 78.1%, virtually unchanged from the previous five months, according to a report released last week by the NIC MAP Data Service.

Despite continued staffing challenges, occupancy does seem to be recovering, according to the report.

At around 78%, SNF occupancy is at its highest level since April 2020. At its low point, occupancy was 72.9% in January 2021, according to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care. 

“However, the current occupancy trend does suggest that demand for skilled nursing properties is recovering, given the 148-basis point increase from January to July this year (2022),” NIC Senior Principal Bill Kauffman wrote Thursday in a blog post. “Occupancy has increased 151 basis points from one year ago and 517 basis points from its pandemic low.”

Managed Medicare revenue per patient day continued its decrease in July, going from $460 to $458 in July. It is down 1.1% from July 2021 and has decreased $112 (19.6%) from January 2012. 

“The persistent decline in managed Medicare revenue per patient day continued to result in an expanded reimbursement differential between Medicare fee-for-service and managed Medicare, which accelerated during the pandemic until January 2022,” Kauffman wrote. 

The difference between Medicare fee-for-service and managed Medicare RPPD in January 2022 was $127; pre-pandemic, in February 2020, the differential was $95. The difference has decreased since January 2022 to end July 2022 at $115, however, according to the report.

“The managed Medicare revenue mix was flat from June to July at 10.5%. It is up, however, 21 basis points from last year and has increased 244 basis points from the pandemic low of 8.1%.” Kauffman wrote.

Medicare revenue mix decreased 308 basis points from the 2022 high (25%) set in February. 

“The increase at the start of 2022 was likely due to the elevated number of COVID-19 cases in January and suggests there was a significant uptick in the utilization of the 3-Day Rule waiver as COVID-19 cases increased.,” according to Kauffman. 

Medicaid revenue mix increased 99 basis points from June to end July at 51%, a 307 basis point increase since February.