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Forty-five percent of skilled nursing facility participants in a new survey said they are “either operating in the red or barely breaking even.”

The American Health Care Association survey of 441 nursing home providers, the results of which were released Tuesday, found that 42% of SNFs are operating on a total margin of 0% to 3%, and only 13% are operating with a total margin that is greater than 3%.

AHCA’s State of the Sector Report also found that staffing challenges remain.

In fact, AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson said in a press release, the report “demonstrates clearly what nursing home providers across the country already know: the ongoing labor shortage is nothing less than a crisis for our sector.”

The survey found that despite providers’ best efforts, staffing shortages are a real concern, especially as providers await finalization of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ federal staffing mandate for nursing homes, which could go into effect this year. 

One-third of the respondents to the survey said that they are concerned that they might have to close their facilities due to staffing shortages. Seventy-two percent of nursing homes said their current workforce levels are lower than their pre-pandemic staffing levels.

Almost all (99%) of the participants said that they currently have job openings; 89% are actively trying to hire for registered nurse positions.

“Nursing homes want to strengthen their workforce, but they cannot do it alone. We need collaborative solutions, not one-size-fits-all mandates, to protect access to care for all seniors,” Parkinson said.

About half of the respondents said that they have had to restrict admissions or wait-list prospective residents for from a few days up to several months due to a shortage of direct care workers.

Twenty percent of the nursing home participants said they have closed a unit, a wing or a floor due to unprecedented labor shortages, according to AHCA.

Fifty-six percent of the respondents said they are struggling with occupancy, compared with 44% that said they are not.