DefinitionPercentage of Medicare/Medicaid certified nursing home beds occupied ending June 30
NumeratorNumber of occupied Medicaid/Medicare certified nursing home beds.
DenominatorTotal number of Medicaid/Medicare certified nursing home beds.
Why Is This Important?Long-term care is an aspect of the health care system that is changing rapidly, with an increasing emphasis on the continuum of life care and development of creative alternatives to the traditional nursing home model. Occupancy rate is used as a performance indicator for nursing homes and assisted living facilities.^1^ An occupancy rate that is near 100% indicates lack of capacity, which can lead to delays in hospital discharge^2^ as well as other problems. However, low occupancy rates indicate a high supply, with a potential for poor patient care in new facilities that are not yet fully staffed, and in facilities suffering from insufficient revenues.[[br]]
1. Utah Health Data Committee. Review of Utah Medicaid Nursing Home Bed Moratorium: 1989-2001. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah Department of Health, 2002.
2. Harrington, C., Swan, J.H., Wellin, V., Clemena, W., and Carrillo, H.M. 1998 State Data Book on Long-term Care Program and Market Characteristics. San Fancisco, CA: University of California, 2000. As cited in Utah Health Data Committee. Review of Utah Medicaid Nursing Home Bed Moratorium: 1989-2001. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah Department of Health, 2002.
How Are We Doing?Some rural areas in Utah have occupancy rates above 90% - an indication of demand outpacing supply. Some of these areas plan to build additional nursing home facilities, while others are using other alternatives, such as transitional care facilities and hospital "swing beds."
In 1989, the Utah Department of Health declared an emergency moratorium on Medicaid certification of new nursing home bed certification. By discouraging additional nursing facility certification of facilities, the moratorium was designed to stabilize the nursing home industry and give the state an opportunity to develop alternative solutions for a better long-term care system.