According to federal data, large, for-profit nursing home chains have lower staffing levels and higher rates of serious patient-care violations than independently owned facilities. A Connecticut newspaper analyzed two years of inspection and ownership data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, comparing corporate owned nursing homes to their privately owned counterparts, the results are striking:
- 16% fewer registered and licensed nurses at corporate owned facilities
- 30% higher rate of patient harm at corporate owned facilities
- The five largest chains had a 42% higher incidence of serious deficiencies which could result in serious patient harm
- 70% of all nursing homes are owned by chains (2 or more facilities with the same owner)
Unlike nursing home homes with owners who actually run their nursing homes on a day to day basis, corporately owned nursing home owners are unlikely to be anywhere near the facility they own. Further, many ‘chain nursing homes’ are run by parent companies by managers who have no previous health care experience and who may have entered the nursing home industry solely as a business venture.
Toby Edelman, a senior policy attorney with the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy sums it up best, “Ownership is certainly a factor” [in quality of care.] Ownership is one more criteria to look at when selecting a nursing home.