3 Ways Long Term Care Facilities Can Thrive Despite Staffing Shortages

Cost shifts and innovations can help improve margins and patient care

Two years ago, few could have predicted the financial, operational, and clinical impacts that a pandemic could have on the long term care industry. 

Recent surveys of long term care facilities report up to 78% of nursing homes and assisted living communities are at risk of closure due to workforce challenges like staffing shortages and non-competitive wages. These workforce difficulties create a bottleneck that strains revenue and profitability.

“COVID has demonstrated that the way we’ve been doing things has not been working,” says John Kane, SNF team lead for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at the LTC Virtual Symposium in late September. “It took something like this, maybe, to reveal that.”

The current state of the industry presents LTC operators with an opportunity to innovate and focus on their strengths to overcome these barriers. Here are three ways that operators can build improvements to move toward a more sustainable, resilient future.

1. Invest in Direct Care Staff Providers

In the current labor market, employees in all roles can be difficult to hire. Operators should prioritize hiring staff directly involved in patient care that helps drive revenue. Currently, 58% of nursing homes are limiting new admissions due to staffing shortages, impacting revenues and profitability. 

By focusing on hiring employees in patient care rather than administrative staff, operators can decrease capacity-related bottlenecks and improve revenue.

2. Outsource Non-Revenue Producing Business Functions

To reallocate capital towards direct patient care staff, operators should consider shifting costs away from non-revenue producing administrative cost centers. Outsourcing to offsite billing vendors, for example, can offer more efficient and effective options, bringing specialization and additional expertise to the billing process.

COVID has brought changes in billing and coding practices across almost all payers, creating an influx of new billing codes and the subsequent need for more staff training. Administrative office staff often have limited time to devote to training and learning these new processes.

Outsourced billing vendors can leverage experience gleaned from similar clients to implement best practices as new coding procedures emerge.

3. Create Competitive Advantages by Innovating in Revenue-Producing Areas

Savings from outsourced billing practices can also be used to drive revenue through service line innovations such as telehealth.

Increases in both reimbursement rates and patient adoption make telehealth a viable option to shift outside visit revenue in house. Doctors or mid-level providers can be contracted into LTC facilities at affordable per-visit rates to provide remote telehealth primary care services.

If billed under the LTC facility, in-house telehealth services can provide a way to vertically integrate services into the patient experience, increasing revenue while consolidating outside patient-provider touchpoints.

Leaning on LTC Industry Experts

Outsourcing billing practices to a vendor with core competencies in scale, knowledge, and processes, allows for LTC operators to save on administrative costs, so that funds can be reallocated to areas that drive revenue for each LTC facility under their management.

This takes the guesswork out of maximizing existing revenue streams while winds of uncertainty continue to blow. LTC Consulting Services has a vast continuum of backend office solutions available for LTC operators ready to optimize their facilities and reverse losses caused by staffing troubles.

As your partner, we offer decades of expertise across the spectrum of accounts receivable and billing, auditing and reviews, and every other financial facet LTC operators have to manage. 

We free up leaders, so you can plot your organization’s course toward a robust future.

Additional Resources:



Founded in 2006, LTC Ally serves the long-term care industry with an unbound dedication to improving back office and financial operations. With a mission to reduce burdens and increase peace of mind, LTC Ally set out to revolutionize the way facilities handle their revenue cycle management. With a full suite of financial, case management, and contracting solutions for healthcare providers, LTC Ally is your partner in long-term care and skilled nursing.

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