Skilled Nursing Occupancy Rates Continue to Rise in Q2

Nursing home occupancy continues to climb from its pandemic low of 74% in the first quarter of 2021 – the data point currently sits at 78.5%.

NIC MAP Vision reported a 0.9 percentage point increase for skilled nursing census during the second financial quarter, but the number remains below pre-pandemic levels of 86.6%. That’s an increase of 90 basis points from 77.6% in Q1 of 2022.

The only downward trend noted for skilled nursing market statistics was inventory growth, an annual decrease of 0.7%. Transaction volume for the nursing home market came in at $524.1 million according to Q1 data, and the rolling four-quarter price per unit was $91,515.


The upward trend in occupancy is reflected in other sectors of the seniors housing market, with assisted living boosted 1.1% from the first quarter and independent living seeing a 0.7 percentage point increase in occupancy.

Overall occupancy for seniors housing increased from 80.5% to 81.4% between Q1 and Q2 of 2022, according to NIC MAP Vision data.

NIC COO Chuck Harry said the uptick across these sectors is reflective of a need for seniors housing despite economic headwinds.


“The sector has not fully recovered from occupancy losses during the height of the pandemic, but the continued upward occupancy trend despite workforce and supply challenges is a positive sign,” Harry said in a statement.

Quarterly demand for housing was the highest it’s been since NIC MAP Vision started reporting such data in 2005, authors noted.

Still, rising material prices, high inflation, construction industry labor shortages and higher interest rates are continued barriers to meeting that demand, according to NIC Chief Economist Beth Burnham Mace.

A separate NIC report indicated that monthly data through April showed flat occupancy for the month, however it was an increase of 140 basis points since January when the omicron variant subsided and demand picked up.

Operating expense pressure and the proposed 4.6% cut to the Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM) were listed as SNF-specific economic challenges, per NIC MAP monthly data.

Medicare revenue mix and managed Medicare revenue per patient day (RPPD) decreased in April to end the month at 20.6% and $454 respectively, according to the NIC MAP monthly data.

NIC MAP data noted Medicare revenue mix fluctuations – the statistic had been increasing at the start of the year to reach a high of 24.6% in February 2022 only to fall 397 basis points since then.

Authors tie these changes to the three-day stay waiver and Covid cases in January. Data suggests there was a “significant uptick” in waiver utilization as omicron cases surged at the beginning of the year.

“As cases declined, the Medicare revenue share has declined as well,” NIC MAP data authors wrote.

Medicaid patient day mix increased for the second month in a row to end April at 66%, a change also tied to the three-day stay waiver.

“Patients have now moved from Medicare patient days back to Medicaid, after utilizing the 3-Day Rule waiver,” authors added.

Between March and April, 25 nursing home operators from 46 states contributed to the monthly data; the number of SNF properties among contributors increased from 1,221 to 1,213.

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