By David Coppins, CEO, IntelyCare.
Throughout 2020 and much of 2021, as the pandemic raged, nursing home staff fled their jobs amid the unsafe and poor working conditions, unfair compensation and the lack of work-life balance due to unrelenting overtime.
While staffing shortages have been commonplace in nursing homes for decades, the pandemic made it extremely hard to retain nurses in post-acute care/skilled nursing homes. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the nursing home industry has lost approximately 235,000 jobs since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 , representing a 15% loss in industry staffers. While some workers are shifting to healthcare jobs in hospitals or other types of facilities, many are leaving the industry entirely.
Nor is the staffing shortage expected to get better anytime soon. For example, a recent American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) survey finds that nearly every nursing home operator has trouble finding qualified workers. At the same time, a record three-quarters of facilities may close due to persistent staffing issues.
Our recent study confirms this trend. IntelyCare commissioned global management consulting leader Oliver Wyman to dive deeply into the after-effects of the pandemic on staffing and occupancy rates within post-acute care.
The ongoing shortage of nursing staff in the U.S. is causing a projected $19.5 billion in unrealized revenue by the end of this year. With organizational funding and reimbursement tied to patient volumes, every unoccupied bed equals a missed revenue opportunity and declining profitability. Without the necessary staff to increase patient volumes, nursing home operators nationwide are punting the organizational funding and reimbursement they need to thrive.