Patient Volumes at Skilled Nursing Facilities Plummet, Expenses per Patient Day Rise amid Continuing Pandemic, Syntellis Reports

New Non-Acute Data from Syntellis Shows COVID-19 Has Caused Spikes in Costs across Multiple Care Settings

CHICAGO December 18, 2020 – Patient volumes at Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) dropped by more than 36 percent in November 2020 year-over-year, accelerating from the more than 12 percent year-over-year drop in the May-October 2020 period, Syntellis Performance Solutions announced today. 

Further, SNFs’ Spending per Patient Day rose sharply during the first months of the pandemic and has steadily increased. By November 2020, year-over-year spending per equivalent patient day in SNFs was 25.57 percent higher.

The findings are part of a Syntellis analysis, which shows a significant rise in Total Expense per Equivalent Patient Day, Total Expense per Test and Total Expense per Visit in some non-acute settings at the start of the pandemic, with mixed results on the return to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Syntellis, previously Kaufman Hall Software and a leading provider of enterprise performance management (EPM) software, data and analytics solutions, helps clients acquire insights, accelerate decisions and advance business plans so they can elevate organizational performance and transform their visions into reality.

Among its other findings:

  • Since March 2020, SNFs have paid staff more per patient day compared with 2019. By November 2020, Labor Expense per SNF Equivalent Patient Day was more than 16 percent higher year-over-year. Expenses rose sharply in March and have largely continued their upward trend
  • In urgent care centers, the Total Expense per Urgent Care Visit rose sharply in spring 2020, with a nearly 147 percent increase in expense year-over-year in April 2020. Since then, this surge in expense has mostly recovered, but not fully. In November 2020, Total Expense per Urgent Care Visit was 24 percent higher year-over-year
  • At stand-alone imaging centers, the median Total Expense per Imaging Test rose more than 150 percent in April 2020 compared with April 2019, declining significantly in May 2020. Today, costs are at or near pre-COVID-19 levels
  • Labor Expense per Imaging Test rose 75.67 percent year-over-year in April 2020, with higher-than-average expense per test in March 2020 and May 2020 as well. Since then, this surge in expense has mostly recovered
  • The Volume of Imaging tests performed by facilities decreased more than 75 percent in April 2020 compared with prior year’s numbers, with significant year-over-year decreases in March 2020 and May 2020. This dip in volumes has mostly recovered

“The results of our study show that not all areas of healthcare are performing equally amid the pandemic,” said Steve Wasson, executive vice president and general manager, data and intelligence solutions at Syntellis. “Imaging and urgent care show a sharp uptick in expenses at the start of COVID-19 but a downward trajectory since. However, in SNFs the numbers continue to rise. The findings suggest that health systems need to think more strategically about how they will address these ongoing challenges rather than universal initiatives.”

Besides SNFs/nursing homes, imaging centers and retail clinics/urgent care centers, Syntellis’ Axiom Healthcare Suite captures monthly data from hospitals, accountable care organizations (ACOs), home care/home health facilities, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), hospice and palliative care, retail pharmacies and parent companies.

“Much as we’ve seen on the hospital side, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on expenses in non-acute settings,” said Kermit S. Randa, CEO of Syntellis. “Financial recovery has been slow, and emerging data points to increased volatility around financial performance as the pandemic continues. In this environment, healthcare leaders must leverage their data to identify opportunities to cut costs while maintaining quality of care.”

The Axiom Comparative Analytics solution from Syntellis is the powerful engine behind the analysis of the new non-acute data as well as Kaufman Hall’s National Hospital Flash Report. It provides healthcare organizations with a wide array of financial metrics across all areas of their businesses so they can quickly compare their financial and operational performance against peers, pinpoint problem areas and develop corrective strategies. Syntellis data is gathered from over 900 hospitals and 2900 non-acute service entities and is updated monthly.

According to client satisfaction data from Black Book Research, Axiom Comparative Analytics by Syntellis is ranked #1 for benchmarking and analytics software based on its innovation, the reliability of its data and for the ability to align with organizations’ strategic goals.


About Syntellis Performance Solutions

Syntellis Performance Solutions, previously Kaufman Hall Software, provides innovative enterprise performance management software, data and analytics solutions for healthcare organizations. Its solutions include enterprise planning, cost and decision support, and financial and clinical analytics tools to elevate organizational performance and transform vision into reality. With over 2,800 organizations and 450,000 users relying on its Axiom and Connected Analytics software, combined with No. 1 rankings from Black Book Research and an HFMA Peer Review designation for six consecutive years, Syntellis helps healthcare providers acquire insights, accelerate decisions and advance their business plans. For more information, please visit



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