The Indiana legislature is considering legislation introduced by State Sen. Patricia Miller in January to impose a three-year moratorium on new nursing home facilities or beds in the state, citing an occupancy rate of about 76 percent for nursing home beds in the state, below the national average of 83 percent.
Critics of the moratorium argue focusing solely on occupancy rates ignores the underlying reasons why the beds are unoccupied. According to the Indiana Alliance for Quality Senior Living, the average nursing home nationwide is 39.5 years old; many of these facilities are below capacity because they do not offer the services today’s consumers want or need.
“If there truly were no consumer demand for these new facilities, businesses wouldn’t be developing them,” said John Nothdurft, director of government relations for The Heartland Institute, which publishes Health Care News. “The decision over whether there should be new nursing homes built in Indiana should be left up to Indiana consumers rather than being decided by government imposing a heavy handed protectionist policy.”
According to the National Federation of Independent Business, the average nursing home project in Indiana represents a $5 million investment and employs more than 300 construction workers while providing business to other construction-related firms.
Matthew Glans ([email protected]) is a senior policy analyst at The Heartland Institute.