Stressed business executives
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About 11% of nursing home operators in Minnesota are considering selling their facility or closing their doors due to continued financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey has found. 

Findings were released Thursday by the Long-Term Care Imperative, a collaborative initiative by LeadingAge Minnesota and Care Providers of Minnesota. They reflect pressures occurring around the country, though Minnesota’s situation is believed to be worse than many others.

The analysis also revealed that the average nursing home is operating with a negative 8.7% operating margin and will lose about $900,000 annually. The poor financial performance is primarily driven by increased expenses, which includes wage increases and temporary staff use. 

“The staffing crisis is not brand new. We’ve had ongoing staffing issues in this profession, and until it’s viewed as a true profession where people want to come work in our communities, it is going to be a chronic problem,” Patti Cullen, president and CEO of the Care Providers of Minnesota said. “It needs to get addressed.”

Cullen added that the most surprising finding from the survey was that 44.8% of providers are operating on margins lower than negative 10%. 

“That’s unsustainable. Thinking about the ripple effect of that is pretty severe,” Cullen told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Friday. 

A separate survey recently found that Minnesota long-term care facilities have dealt with the most staffing shortages when compared to other states. 

Minnesota officials and lawmakers have pushed for solutions to address the shortages in the state, including calling for a $1 billion investment to boost pay for long-term care and other direct care workers and establishing a training program to increase the number of certified nursing assistants in facilities.

“What I’m hearing from my colleagues around the state is that this workforce crisis is costing a lot,” she said. “It’s a national problem overall, although I do think there are parts of the country where it might not be as dramatic as we’re seeing here.” 

Cullen added that one-time bonuses for workers and the state’s CNA program are “bandaids on a gaping wound.” 

“People are leaving. Sending a little bonus ‘Thank you’ is just a one-time [thing],” she said. “What they really want is an increase in their wages so it’s sustainable and they can pay their bills without working two jobs.”

For details of survey results involving assisted living, see McKnight’s Senior Living.