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Nursing Homes: Private Investment Homes Sometimes Differed from Others in Deficiencies, Staffing, and Financial Performance

GAO-11-571 Published: Jul 15, 2011. Publicly Released: Aug 15, 2011.
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Private investment (PI) firms' acquisition of several large nursing home chains led to concerns that the quality of care may have been adversely affected. These concerns may have been in part due to PI firms' business strategies and their lack of financial transparency compared to publicly traded companies. In September 2010, GAO reported on the extent of PI ownership of nursing homes and firms' involvement in the operations of homes they acquired. In this report, GAO examined how nursing homes that were acquired by PI firms changed from before acquisition or differed from other homes in: (1) deficiencies cited on state surveys, (2) nurse staffing levels, and (3) financial performance. GAO identified nursing homes that had been acquired by PI firms from 2004 through 2007 and then used data from CMS's Online Survey, Certification, and Reporting system and Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility Cost Reports to compare these PI homes to other forprofit and nonprofit homes. For PIacquired homes, GAO also compared homes for which the operations and real estate were owned by the same firm to those that were not. Because research has shown that other variables influence deficiencies, staffing, and financial performance, GAO statistically controlled--that is adjusted--for several factors, including the percent of residents for whom the payer is Medicare, facility size, occupancy rate, market competition, and state. Any differences GAO found cannot necessarily be attributed to PI ownership or acquisition.

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Comparative analysisElder careEmployeesFinancial analysisHospital care servicesInvestment companiesLicensesNursesNursing homesProperty and supply managementQuality of careSkilled nursing facilitiesStaff utilization