Rural nursing homes face closure as occupancy wanes

From Modern Healthcare:

Rural skilled-nursing facility occupancy levels continue to decline, making them susceptible to closure or consolidation, researchers at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care said.

While average occupancy levels in urban and rural areas have relatively stabilized over the past year, there is still a significant gap between the two at 83.7% and 80.4% as of the fourth quarter of 2018, NIC data show. Skilled-nursing facilities in rural and urban areas were around 87% full in 2012.

Rural skilled-nursing providers have struggled to staff their facilities as populations in remote areas continue to decline, which increase costs while reimbursement levels fall. This means more will likely close or consolidate, which can leave patients in the lurch, said Bill Kauffman, senior principal at NIC.

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