By getting ahead of industrywide trends and changes, you can plan for the workforce and resources necessary for success in the new decade.
It’s that time of year. Experts get out their crystal balls and make prognostications for the future. While no one can really predict what’s to come, it’s worth considering these possible scenarios and their implications for your organization, your residents, and your staff.
First, some predictions about skilled nursing:
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) is watching Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM) progress, and the hammer will fall. To date, there are more revenue winners than losers under the new reimbursement model, and CMS is paying close attention. Watch for the agency to take action—whether it involves clawbacks from providers suspected of changing their strategies just to benefit financially from PDPM, refusal to raise the market basket rate for Medicare nursing home reimbursement, or some other penalty.
- The feds will continue to shine a spotlight on skilled care. The expectation that a Republican administration meant loosening of regs hasn’t come to pass, and it’s not likely to happen in 2020. CMS administrator Seema Verma has stated clearly that nursing home oversight is high on her agenda for the coming year, and Congress seems to be onboard as well. For instance, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) hopes to introduce a new nursing home oversight bill sometime in the new year.
- The occupancy trend moves from empty beds to shortages. While Medicaid funding shortfalls and other issues contributed to facility closures in many states, there may actually be a shortage of beds as the senior population continues to grow and efforts increase to move patients out of hospitals quicker.
- Leases will get a fresh look. A wave of providers have filed for bankruptcy in recent years, with many blaming burdensome leases. In 2020, watch for leases and rent payments to come under scrutiny and get more attention in negotiations.
- Watch for expansion and overreach. While some skilled providers will gain success by expanding into other service lines, others will take on more than they can handle. They could be burned, for instance, if they jump into Institutional Skilled Needs Plans (I-SNPs) that require scale and risk assumption. Providers need to carefully weigh any new opportunity to expand before they leap headfirst into it.
Beyond skilled nursing to senior living, look for these trends:
- More providers will embrace a hybrid approach that blends medical and hospitality models.
- Residents will be older, sicker, and require more care. Acuity will continue to rise; and people with certain mental and physical disabilities will live longer and require specialized senior care for these conditions (such as schizophrenia and brain injuries).
- Senior living will be in greater demand, and competition between providers will increase.
- Population health (focusing on populations rather than settings) will be the norm rather then the exception, and siloes between care settings will continue to break down.
- Social determinants of health, such as family and community supports, will continue to gain attention by providers and payors alike.
- Residents will be more tech-savvy. Increasingly, they will expect reliable wifi, access to streaming and other services, and the ability to easily charge and store all of their devices.
- More seniors will be seeking pet-friendly settings where they can live with their dogs and cats. According to statistics, more than half of seniors own a pet; and the vast majority say their animals help them enjoy life and are part of their family.
Pick and choose what predictions you think are most likely to affect your organization and team. Then consider how you want to address these in your strategic plans for 2020 and beyond.