SavaSeniorCare on Tuesday announced a plan to transfer the operations of 48 skilled nursing facilities and assisted living properties in eight states by the end of next year, as the Atlanta-based operator looks to pivot to a more regional footprint in the wake of the pandemic.
“The current state of the world brought on by the pandemic has caused us to closely examine our strategy, where we invest our resources and can achieve the greatest impact,” CEO Jerry Roles said in a statement. “We believe this decision will best prepare the company and our centers for the post-pandemic world, and allow us to continue our focus on our people, the residents who we are privileged to serve and our dedicated staff.”
SavaSeniorCare is working with its landlords to find new operators for the buildings, which are located across a wide swath of the country: Properties in California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Wyoming are set to change hands, with a target completion date by the end of 2021.
The portfolio consists primarily of skilled nursing assets, with a single assisted living property in New Mexico.
SavaSeniorCare currently operates 169 facilities in total.
The provider positioned the move as one part of a broader strategy to consolidate its operations, with a plan to reorient SavaSeniorCare around two divisions with properties concentrated in specific geographic regions.
“The company will in turn make investments in remaining centers in three main areas: people, through increased incentives and benefits; care, in the form of infection preventionists, physician investments, and partnerships; and innovation, through new technology and equipment,” the company noted in a statement.
The move makes good on a prediction that SavaSeniorCare chief strategy officer Ray Thivierge made earlier this year, pointing to a 10% occupancy dip to 14,100 residents chain-wide amid the ongoing strains of COVID-19.
“Longer range, those incentives are providing us an opportunity to get through the day and get through this period,” Thivierge said of federal COVID-19 aid. “But they’re also forcing us to rethink our business model and rethink what it looks like. How are we going to operate these centers at a lower occupancy and still sustain the level of service we need to provide to our residents?”
Short-stay Medicare residents represent only about 20% of the company’s total resident base. While that figure is consistent with pre-pandemic levels at SavaSeniorCare, Thivierge emphasized that the big-picture trend was already on the downswing prior to the effects of the pandemic.
“If you strip away COVID, the good and the bad — the expenses and the added financial incentives — you’ve still got a situation where we’re dealing with an impact to our long-term care days through this fire. That’s going to take us a long time to come back from,” Thivierge said. “The sector was already trending down on long-term care, and the fact of the matter is this virus has done two things: It has eroded our long-term care base. But it has made people much more fearful of the environment.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.