The leader of the nation’s largest nursing home association is hopeful that skilled nursing occupancy will recover faster than anticipated. 

Industry-wide occupancy has been rising at about 100 basis points (1%) per month since January, according to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association. 

He reported the insights Wednesday during retail banking company Mizuho’s second annual Healthcare REIT Summit, where he served as a keynote speaker. The latest recovery trends suggest that the 1,200 basis-point drop in occupancy during the pandemic could be recovered within 12 months, the firm noted in a recap of Parkinson’s comments. 

That would be welcome news. Parkinson said in a February interview that long-term care operators would have to rebuild occupancy by at least 1% per month in 2021 in order for it to reach pre-pandemic levels.

The path toward rebuilding occupancy isn’t clear just yet, Parkinson noted. He also emphasized that challenges still exist for operators and though “there are green shoots indicating occupancy is finally troughing, the pace at which occupancy recovers [ultimately] remains uncertain,” according to Mizuho.