The NYSHFA Annual Convention at the Turning Stone Resort opened with two very high-level speakers to kick off the event.  AHCA CEO & President Mark Parkinson followed the Lt. Governor of New York State, Antonio Delgado.

The Lieutenant Governor highlighted 3 important issues here in New York State: the healthcare worker shortage, the administration’s support of medication aids, and the recent increase in Medicaid rate.  He did acknowledge that there is more work to be done.

Governor Parkinson also addressed the audience with insight into the most important SNF industry topics:

Covid – He is expecting regulatory relief coming from DC soon in terms of masking, vaccination reporting, etc. However, the clinical aspect of dealing with people with Covid remains.  The expectation is that spikes will still happen, but not at the level of severity as before.   Covid will exist, and we will all have to work through it.

Census / Occupancy – The census issues most SNFs are facing are only improving somewhat.   ACHA reports that the national average occupancy is 76.9 with a 86.6% average occupancy amongst NYS skilled nursing facilities.  However, industry experts such as Marc Zimmet report that due to SNF beds that have been taken offline, the relative occupancy is much lower.

Workforce – SNFs do not have the workers to pay.  Parkinson commented that the hospitality industry is also struggling to find workers. A recent study by Clifton Larson Allen reported that the industry is short by over 191,000 nurses at a cost of over $11B.   Questions about staffing ratios, calculation methodology, funding, phase-in, and potential penalties are all still being debated.   Advocates are seeking a staffing ration of 4:1.

Medicare Advantage / Medicare Managed Care – The growth of Medicare Advantage is hampering SNF operations from revenue, census, and administrative standpoints. Medicare Advantage Penetration Grew from 37% to 45%, 2019 –2022. AHCA recommends that SNF providers set up networks such as an I-SNP and encourage people to get into their own population health management programs.

Medicare Reimbursement – a 3.7% increase in Medicare payments to SNFs is coming as part of the FY 2024 Final Rule.

As an industry advocate who provides nursing home speech services, Language Fundamentals is proud to support SNF caregivers & providers, and NYSHFA.  Special thanks to the New York Chapter of the ACHCA for sponsoring the presentation.