Holiday Weekend Round-Up: SNFs Under ‘Siege,’ Trumpcare Turmoil

You’ve made it to the Friday ahead of a long holiday weekend! Whether you’re still in the office or checking this on a phone from a beach, lakefront, or park, all of us at Skilled Nursing News would like to wish you a happy and safe July 4 weekend. Our headquarters in Chicago will be closed both Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4, and we’ll be back at it with regular coverage bright and early on Wednesday, July 5.

In the meantime, let’s catch up on the stories that you may have missed during the week — or if you’ve already got one foot out the door, bookmark this page as a refresher for that slow spool-up on Wednesday morning.

SNN readers kept streaming to Lincoln Healthcare Leadership president David Ellis’s comments on the state of the SNF industry at the Link Post Acute Care Continuum Conference in Chicago, where he predicted that a quarter of all SNF beds would be gone by 2022. We also took a look at why home care simply can’t replace institutional SNF care for seniors with more advanced health care needs, at least according to a study from Canada — a timely topic, as health care experts spent the week attempting to dissect the effects of a stalled Trumpcare bill on the skilled nursing industry.

Under the Senate’s plan, individual SNFs could lose out on $600,000 a year in Medicaid funding, or well more they make annually, American Health Care Association president and CEO Mark Parkinson told reporters. Parkinson also dismissed the idea that less costly home health care could step in to fill the void, as some observers have suggested, flatly calling the idea “not realistic.”

And in case you needed a break from the gloomy headlines, Irving Levin Associates found that the median per-bed SNF sale price has tripled since 2003.

What We’re Reading

Wisconsin Health Care Association John Vander Meer tells Wisconsin Public Radio that “the U.S. Senate health care bill would force nursing homes to close their doors,” and calls on the body to adjust the controversial plan to increase Medicaid funding at a slower rate than under current law or the House bill.

“Our facilities on average have about a 1.5% margin, so that means they make a profit of about $100,000 to $150,000,” Vander Meer said, echoing Parkinson’s $600,000-in-losses figure. “That would basically eliminate any profit they receive, and it would basically devastate nursing homes and force facilities to close in significant numbers.”

Skilled nursing providers in Wisconsin would stand to lose $56 per Medicaid per patient per day, Vander Meer told WPR. Scott Walker, the state’s Republican governor, has supported a plan to increase Medicaid reimbursements to SNFs, WPR reports, and a measure is currently wending its way through the state legislature. Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, was one of the GOP senators who expressed doubts about his party’s health care plan.

Written by Alex Spanko

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