Threat to Existence of Retirement Homes in Rockford

by | Feb 11, 2020 | Blog, Retirement Homes in Rockford

As the senior population grows, it’s easy to think that nursing homes will be popping up everywhere. In fact, the opposite is true. After booming for much of the late 20th century, the number of skilled nursing homes in the United States has flatlined at about 15,000 for more than a decade. By 2021, that figure could shrink by 20 percent.

That means more and more Americans will be forced to consider new ways to get the kind of care once found almost solely in retirement homes in Rockford. Blame this on the new math of health care, the growth of alternatives to skilled care facilities, and rising lifespans.

The Popularity of Homecare and Assisted Living Facilities

They are largely driven by how insurance reimbursement is changing. Medicare, a federal insurance program, and Medicaid, an assistance program run by state and local governments under federal guidelines, account for 90 percent of nursing home revenues; the rest comes from private long-term care insurance.

Both of these programs pay for long-term care for people who are poor and chronically or terminally ill. But retirement homes in Rockford have long lost money on residents covered by Medicaid programs. A recent rewiring under Obamacare of payment approaches for Medicare patients who need short-term care following injuries or illnesses and hospital treatment has hurt profits there, as well.

Constantly Under Threat

Many insurers hiked long-term care premiums or left the market, largely because policies are becoming unprofitable as seniors live longer. Wealthier nursing home residents, the true private-pay market, are poorer than they were before the Great Recession and now run out of money sooner, often in two or three years. When funds run out, individuals then enroll in Medicaid and can’t be discharged for failure to pay, which puts further financial pressure on facilities.

Health care insurers want to find ways to reduce the cost of health care by shifting individuals to lower-cost models. Increasingly, states are expanding Medicaid coverage to include home and community-based settings, options that are typically preferred over traditional nursing home facilities, especially among the newly old.

Thus, skilled nursing facilities are floundering while retirement homes in Rockford are growing in popularity, particularly for those with chronic but manageable conditions, such as circulatory problems, respiratory diseases, and arthritis. The capital markets, including private equity sources, are accelerating the decline in nursing homes by shifting investment into assisted living facilities and home-based technologies.

Given these trends, nursing home construction and renovation have slowed as owners and operators hesitate to invest amid growing unpredictability over future revenues.

While consumers and their families prefer newer facilities, what drives satisfaction are the three C’s: consistency, capability, and caring by the staff. Unfortunately, retirement homes in Rockford face significant challenges in recruiting and retaining staff in many regions of the country.

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