The senior housing and care industry has experienced its share of ups and downs throughout 2011, from favorable demographic growth and recovering occupancy rates to Medicare cuts and lack of new construction capital. Here’s a list of the most-read stories published on Senior Housing News this past year, in descending order of popularity.
#1. August 10: Shift Away From Nursing Home Care Reveals Challenges. In the past ten or so years, there’s been a national trend away from nursing home care in favor of other forms of care, including home health care or assisted living, and this trend coupled with Medicare reimbursement cuts pose challenges to the skilled nursing industry.
#2. June 12: Number of Senior Households to Increase 35% by 2020 says Report. A report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies discusses the impact the impending wave of baby boomers will have on the housing market as they approach retirement.
#3. October 26: HARP 2.0: Obama Administration’s Revised Policy to Further Aging In Place. The Obama Administration releases a second version of its Home Affordable Refinance Program with features that could help increase monthly cashflow, among other benefits, for qualifying seniors.
#4. May 2: Senior Housing Occupancy Rates Rise, Inventory Growth Hits Record Lows During Q1 2011. The senior housing market heads toward recovery as occupancy levels rise while inventory shrinks, shifting supply and demand fundamentals.
#5. January 19: U.S. Home Remodeling Industry Could See Bull Run Start in 2011. A Joint Center for Housing Studies report points toward lower household mobility as more people choose to remodel their homes rather than move and purchase new ones.
#6. September 15: What is Holding Back New Construction in Senior Housing?. Despite the hype about the growing numbers of retirement-age baby boomers, construction starts for senior housing remain low, due primarily to difficulty in financing projects.
#7. June 21: Criticism from Congress Forces HUD to Provide More Support for Senior Housing. Congress calls out HUD on the substantial backlog of Section 232 applicants in the HUD queue, prompting the department to hire extra staff to speed up the underwriting process.
#8. September 25: Nuns Default on High End Senior Living Facility, Biggest of the Year. A senior living facility financed by the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago defaults on its municipal bonds, with blame placed on the poor economic and housing environment.
#9. September 18: Medicare Cuts Will Cripple Home Health Agencies says Report. Proposed changes to the home health prospective payment system by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services would lead to negative Medicare financial margins for more than half of all home health agencies, according to a report analyzing data from the proposal.
#10. August 23: CMS Medicare Cuts Drive Nursing Home Operators to Economic “Tipping Point”. Healthcare providers respond to the 11.1% cut to Medicare reimbursement rates, with some pointing to the industry’s already slim operating margins.
Written by Alyssa Gerace