Skilled nursing facility (SNF) operators continue to deal with operational and financial challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the biggest issues being declining occupancy rates, staffing shortages and the virus itself.
Home health agencies have been following the SNF market closely, with many looking for opportunities to divert patients away from those operators through newly launched SNF-at-home models. In addition to direct diversion, however, agencies should also be paying close attention to cross-continuum partnership opportunities.
That’s especially true if agencies can help SNFs maximize their efficiency while lowering their total cost of care.
In a recent survey of 170 representatives from Medicare-certified skilled nursing facilities, 12% of respondents said their facility would be able to stay in business for another three months or less based on current expenses and available financial relief. Another 25% said they’d be able to stay in business for another four to six months.
The survey was conducted by Home Health Care News sister publication Skilled Nursing News between Aug. 17 and Sept. 14.
Forging partnerships with SNFs isn’t a revolutionary concept, as many in-home care providers already have close connections with their skilled nursing peers.
The New Jersey-based Executive Care has worked to strengthen its internal data-tracking capabilities to work closer with SNFs and help them lower re-hospitalization rates, for example. Nexus Montogomery — a collaboration between six Maryland hospitals and post-acute care providers — launched an innovative pilot connecting the dots between SNFs and home care last year.
“One of the biggest ways this helps our business is that it keeps us engaged with the broader health care system,” Mitch Markowitz — vice president of business development for Family & Nursing Care, one of the participating home care providers in the Nexus Montgomery partnership — previously told HHCN. “We can support each other as we all collectively learn what the evolution of today’s health care industry really means. It’s changing constantly.”
Home health providers can also help SNF operators build density and have stronger overall regional footprints. The Atlanta-based SavaSeniorCare recently revealed that is a main goal for the organization moving forward.
On Nov. 3, SavaSeniorCare announced plans to transfer the operations of 48 skilled nursing facilities and assisted living properties in eight states by the end of the next year.
“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.”