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Choosing A Nursing Home

Choosing A Nursing Home

The Medicare Advocacy Group has released a study outlining extensive research concluding that the type of nursing home ownership and sponsorship affects the quality of care that is provided to residents. Based upon an analysis of the top ten “for profit” nursing home chains between 2003 and 2008, those “for profit” chains had the lowest employee staffing levels, the highest number of deficiencies according to public regulatory agencies, the highest number of deficiencies that caused harm to their residents. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in 2011 that the nursing homes acquired by the top ten private equity firms between 2004 and 2007 had more total deficiencies than the “not for profit” nursing homes, reported lower total nurse staffing ratios, and showed capital-related cost increases and higher profit margins, compared to other facilities. In 2010, the GAO reported that the nursing home identified by the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS) as among the poorest performing nursing homes nationwide were more likely to be part of a “for profit” chain, compared to other nursing homes, had fewer registered nurses per resident per day, and were ranked lower on CMS’s “Five Star System.”

The above is only a small taste of the results of the study. Clearly, ownership type has been shown to make a significant difference in the quality of care given to the residents. Families looking to place loved ones in a nursing home should use the available information to help them make informed decisions about where to find the best care in their area. This study suggests that in many areas, the non-profit nursing homes provide the highest quality of care.

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