Skilled nursing home operators saw a slight increase in occupancy during the month of September, according to the latest data released by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). 

NIC’s latest Skilled Nursing Monthly Report found that occupancy numbers for SNFs stood at 74% for September — a 12 basis-point increase from August’s 73.9% occupancy rate. Though it was an improvement from the previous month, it’s still far below the 84.9% occupancy rate reported for February and just before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Since February, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted skilled nursing operations across the country. Occupancy is down 10.2 percentage points from the September 2019 level of 84.2 percent,” NIC Senior Principal Bill Kaufman explained in a blog post Wednesday.

The report also noted that managed Medicare patient day mix was at 6.3% in September 2020, which is an improvement from the seven-year record low of 5.4% reported during May. But it is still 78 basis points below the record high of 7.1% seen in February. 

“The increase since May suggests managed Medicare admissions have increased since the lows of the pandemic, but they are likely significantly below levels prior to the pandemic. As cases of COVID-19 continue to grow and some states implement restrictions once again, it is possible that managed care patient days are further pressured if elective surgeries are suspended again,” Kaufman said.