Brookdale Receives $67.5M in New Relief Funds, CEO Heartened by Vaccine News

Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) President and CEO Cindy Baier touted a fresh round of aid from the federal government and new progress on the Covid-19 vaccine as signs that the company is on the right footing to weather the pandemic.

Leaders with Brentwood, Tennessee-based Brookdale on Tuesday reported the company has received $67.5 million in funding from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the second phase of the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. Brookdale has in total received $106 million in grants from state and federal governments.

“We are so incredibly grateful to HHS and the states for the grants that we have received,” Baier said during the company’s presentation at this year’s Credit Suisse investor event, which was held virtually Tuesday.

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Brookdale estimates that it has spent about $95 million mitigating Covid-19 through procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), doling out hero pay and buying cleaning supplies. The company also believes it lost out on about $161 million in revenue as occupancy fell from 83% in March to 74% in October.

“We’re grateful that we were able to play a key role in convincing the government, HHS in particular, of the critical need of senior living,” Baier said. “And, to get that support to offset some of the very significant costs that we’ve incurred as an industry to protect our residents.”

As some of its other publicly traded senior living peers have done, Brookdale will also begin releasing information more frequently. Specifically, Brookdale will be publishing monthly occupancy reports, as opposed to only sharing this information during its quarterly earnings periods. That practice will continue until the company returns to normal financial guidance, Baier said.

Looking toward the future, Baier was hopeful about recent reports of progress on a Covid-19 vaccine. After that news broke, share prices of publicly traded senior living owners and operators surged, with Brookdale spiking from $2.76 on Friday afternoon to $4.30 by mid-morning Tuesday.

Brookdale is partnering with long-term care pharmacy giant Omnicare and its parent company CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) to eventually conduct vaccine clinics within its communities.

Although there is data to suggest there are many people in the U.S. who wouldn’t get a Covid-19 vaccine when it’s available, Baier said she’s confident that most of Brookdale’s residents and staff won’t be among them.

For one, she said, Brookdale’s residents are generally in their 80s, and are living with multiple comorbidities that would incentivize them to get vaccinated. Brookdale also regularly holds clinics in its communities for other kinds of vaccines with “strong participation.”

“We have time to do education within our communities, [and] we have 6,000 nurses,” Baier said. “So, we are optimistic that most residents and associates will welcome the opportunity to be protected from Covid-19, particularly if the effectiveness of the vaccine is in that 90% range that we’ve all seen reported in the news.”

Brookdale’s share value grew by 2.5% Tuesday, landing at $4 by the time the markets closed.

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