Source: NIC MAP Data Service

The trend of declining occupancy rates for skilled nursing continued in August as a result of the ongoing effects of COVID-19. Operators saw occupancy rates fall another 81 basis points from July to August, dropping to a new low of 73.8%, according to the latest Skilled Nursing Monthly Report from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care’s NIC MAP Data Service. 

This new low represents an almost 10% drop in just the five months since March and a nearly 11% decline since February. The occupancy trend was consistent across geographies, as both urban and rural areas decreased from July to August, ending at 73.7% and 75.1%, respectively, NIC said.

The report also analyzed patient day mix across all four payer types — Medicare, managed Medicare, Medicaid and private-pay — and found that Medicare patient day mix increased 40 basis points (0.4%), from 12.1% in July to 12.5% in August. Since March, the Medicare patient day mix is up 114 basis points, and since last year, it is up 125 basis points from 11.2%. Medicare revenue mix increased 87 basis points from July to August, increasing from 20.8% to 21.6%. 

“The combination of the overall decline in occupancy and the increase in Medicare patient day mix and revenue mix suggests that the waiver of the 3-Day Rule imposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is having a positive impact on Medicare days,” noted Bill Kauffman, senior principal at NIC.

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