Earlier this week we shared information on the New York nursing home study recently released by the United Hospital Fund’s Medicaid Institute. The research explores many different issues, including an analysis of resident demographics, payment options, and overall caregiving trends. The fact that it focuses solely on New York is important, because this care varies widely from state to state. New Yorkers preparing for possible long-term care are well served by understanding exactly how it all works in our neck of the woods.
We previously explained how the research identified the shift toward more “short-term” stays, as more residents are using nursing home for rehabilitation purposes and staying at home for the long-term, if possible.
Some other interesting findings from the study include:
*** The dominant role played by hospital admissions into nursing homes. As many local residents can attest, the most common way that a senior enters a long-term care facility is from the hospital. That is because the most nursing home stays come up suddenly, after a senior suffers a sudden injury or illness. The study noted that 90% of all NY nursing home admission were directly from the hospital. This is a 7% increase from 1996.
*** The current “occupancy rate” for all New York nursing homes is 94%. Interestingly, this is a slight decrease from 1996 (when it was 97%). Yet, overall, this is still an incredibly high occupancy rate, as the national average is only 84%. This means that many residents struggle to find open spots. Considering the Baby Boomer generation is reaching retirement, it seems clear that the demand will increase even further.
*** An increase in “short term” stays at long-term facilities has been coupled with different resident expectations. Unlike in the past, many more seniors and their families push for unique admission times, flexible visiting times, more private rooms, and similar requests. The report explained that many seniors did not necessarily have those demands met, but the requests for those services are up. All of this correlates with a push-back against the old fashioned, institutional models of senior care.
In addition to providing helpful information about the current state of the industry in New York, the study authors also provide some policy considerations that will likely be at the forefront in coming years. That includes increased collaboration between involved entities (hospitals, nursing homes, at-home aides, etc.). Additionally, payment reforms are already underway, including shifts to managed care and overall Medicaid alternations.