The long-term care industry will never be the same following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a leading expert. 

“There never will come a time when we will return to the old normal,” Robert Kramer, Nexus Insights president, told Forbes’ columnist Howard Gleckman.

In a recent analysis, Gleckman noted that short-term challenges of the pandemic may fade away but providers will still face other difficulties over time. 

Providers are currently seeing a rise in expenses, like personal protective equipment and labor costs, as they fight COVID-19. Costs for PPE may decline but workforce demands for increased pay may substantially increase. 

The rise in costs could come with a likely drop in patient revenues from Medicaid and Medicare. 

Providers may also face “enormous regulatory and consumer pressure” to maximize infection control. They also face potential legal troubles from an expected “massive wave of lawsuits” to rise from the pandemic. 

“These enormous pressures are likely to result in significant losses for facilities unable to adapt, and a massive ownership shakeout. Some analysts predict that as many half the current operators may go out of business, unable to find the capital they need to keep going. Industry analysts disagree on whether this will result in ownership consolidation or a net decline in beds — or both,” Gleckman wrote. 

“But Kramer is right. For nursing homes, things never will be the same,” he added.

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