St. John’s Retirement Village in Woodland, California is among the many long-term care facilities that has had to close its doors amid the pandemic. Meanwhile, hundreds of other facilities are barely scraping by. Facilities across the country have been struggling financially due to the rising costs associated with protective equipment, testing materials, and additional staff necessary for round-the-clock care.
Despite obtaining COVID-19 relief and protective gear from the federal government, plenty of long-term care facilities remain overwhelmed by pandemic-related expenses. Not to mention, many of these facilities are facing diminished revenues that are driving them closer to the edge. In fact, nursing homes across Florida suffered a $651 million loss because of a 15% drop in occupancy due to the COVID-19 restrictions that limited new admissions. Even now, beds in these facilities are still empty.
As long-term care providers continue to struggle, many are advocating for more government aid. However, these facilities would need to be more transparent with how these funds are being used. Toby Edelman, a senior policy attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy, expressed concern regarding transparency and cited a report by the Washington Post. This report found that shortly after receiving money from the CARES Act, Genesis HealthCare, a large U.S. nursing home chain, gave its CEO a $5.2 million bonus. Meanwhile, Genesis continues to experience financial strains and is taking steps to reduce its substantial debt.
In the end, nursing homes are people’s homes. So, when a facility closes its doors, these residents are being displaced. This can lead to stress, which can result in adverse health consequences. Industry advocates will continue to fight for additional government support to ensure more long-term facilities are able to survive these struggles and keep their doors open.
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