Image of male nurse pushing senior woman in a wheelchair in nursing facility

The COVID-19 pandemic is still creating a “challenging operating environment” for operators under healthcare real estate investment trust Invesque, executives reported Thursday. 

Invesque Chairman and CEO Scott White detailed several changes its providers have made in response to the public health crisis during a second-quarter earnings call. He noted that the cases currently being observed in its skilled nursing facilities are mostly direct admissions from hospitals and are being cared for in dedicated COVID-19 units. 

Several cost-saving efforts have also paid off for the company. In May, it announced that it would be suspending its dividend for all common shareholders, reducing its corporate workforce by more than 25%, and deferring non-essential capital expenditures. 

Executives during Thursday’s call reported the moves would save it about $47 million combined for fiscal year 2020.   

Invesque Chairman and CEO Scott White

Though operators are not on the other side of the pandemic, Smith said the company is confident operators have “implemented the necessary policies and procedures to continue taking best care for residents and staff.”

Coronavirus cases among residents and staff members have been reported in 70 of its 106 senior housing and SNF properties — with only 29 cases currently under quarantine.  

“Many of our operators that were impacted in April and May have now implemented phased reopening plans where they’re able to conduct small group activities and family visitations all under strict protocols while continuing to protect residents and staff,” Smith said. 

Smith also applauded the additional $5 billion in relief funding for nursing homes announced in late July and the 2.2% Medicare market basket pay raise slated for providers for fiscal year 2021.  

“There’s no doubt that the skilled nursing industry across the United States has been challenged by the pandemic and the implications of it,” White said, adding that it’s talking to operators on how they can help them be successful in the short- and long-term.