Skilled Nursing Occupancy Increases Further in May 2021

August 11, 2021

Medicare RPPD down 2.4% from the high set in June 2020.

NIC MAP® Data Service, powered by NIC MAP Vision, released its latest Skilled Nursing Monthly Report on August 5, 2021, which includes key monthly data points from January 2012 through May 2021.

Below are some key takeaways from NIC Analytics regarding the data.

Skilled nursing property occupancy increased for a fourth consecutive month in May, albeit at a slower pace than recent monthly gains, rising 23 basis points from April to 73.4%. This placed it 211 basis points above the low point reached in January 2021. There is cautious optimism for increased occupancy through 2021, although recent news about the rapid spread of the contagious COVID-19 Delta variant is concerning. That said, the skilled nursing industry is still challenged by very low occupancy and the fact that government stimulus funds may be exhausted soon unless additional funds are provided. Hence, the question remains as to how fast the industry can increase occupancy to a sustainable level. It remains very low compared to February 2020 pre-pandemic levels of 85.5% (12.0 percentage points).

SNF Occupancy May 2021

Medicaid revenue per patient day (RPPD) decreased $2 from April to end May 2021 at $241. Medicaid RPPD continued its recent decline after hitting a high of $244 in February. However, the latest monthly data in May still represents a 3.3% increase from pre-pandemic levels of February 2020 ($233). Medicaid reimbursement has increased more than usual as many states embraced measures to increase reimbursement related to the number of COVID-19 cases. On the other hand, covering the cost of care for Medicaid patients is still a major concern as reimbursement does not cover the cost in many states. In addition, nursing home wage growth is elevated relative to inflation and staffing shortages are a significant challenge in many areas of the country.

Medicare revenue per patient day (RPPD) declined slightly from April to end May 2021 at $559. In a similar trend to Medicaid, the Medicare RPPD continued to decline after hitting a high during the initial wave of COVID-19. There was support from the federal government to aid Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements for situations such as providing higher rates to help care for COVID-19 positive patients requiring isolation. RPPD has now declined, and one possible reason is lower property-level case counts. Medicare RPPD has decreased 2.4% from the high set back in June 2020.

SNF RPPD May 2021

Managed Medicare revenue mix held relatively steady from April to May at 10.8%. It has declined since its recent high of 11.2% in February but was up by 250 basis points from the pandemic low set in May 2020 of 8.3%. The increase is likely due to growth in elective surgeries from the prior year. Meanwhile, Medicare revenue mix continues to decline, falling 58 basis points from April to end May at 20.4%, a time-series low. It has been falling since January 2021 when it was 25.2%, the time of peak COVID-19 cases. The downward trend is likely due to less utilization of the 3-Day Rule waiver, which was implemented to keep COVID-19 positive patients from having to go back to the hospital.

To get more trends from the latest data you can download the Skilled Nursing Monthly Report here. There is no charge for this report.

The report provides aggregate data at the national level from a sampling of skilled nursing operators with multiple properties in the United States. NIC continues to grow its database of participating operators in order to provide data at localized levels in the future. Operators who are interested in participating can complete a participation form at NIC and NIC MAP Vision maintain strict confidentiality of all data they receive.

Interested in learning more about NIC MAP data? To learn more about NIC MAP data, powered by NIC MAP Vision, and about accessing the data featured in this article, schedule a meeting with a product expert today.

This blog was originally published on NIC Notes.

About NIC
The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), a 501(c)(3) organization, works to enable access and choice by providing data, analytics, and connections that bring together investors and providers. The organization delivers the most trusted, objective, and timely insights and implications derived from its analytics, which benefit from NIC’s affiliation with NIC MAP Vision, the leading provider of comprehensive market data for senior housing and skilled nursing properties. NIC events, which include the industry’s premiere conferences, provide sector stakeholders with opportunities to convene, network, and drive thought-leadership through high-quality educational programming.  To see all that NIC offers, visit

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