Changes in Ownership

McKnight’s reported on a new study that finds nursing home ownership changes may be a symptom of poor nursing home quality, rather than the cause of it.

Researchers from the University of Washington Department of Rehabilitation Medicine evaluated the impact of 1,459 sales on about 11,000 nursing homes and their short-stay patients. It was not good for the residents. Researchers noted that facilities with a change in ownership had worse outcomes over the full study period compared to those that went unsold.

“The finding that worse short-stay patient outcomes occurred in SNFs with changes in ownership group throughout the study period, combined with the finding that changes in ownership were more common in SNFs with characteristics that have previously been associated with lower quality, suggests that changes in ownership may be a symptom, rather than a cause, of lower quality,” they wrote in JAMA Network Open.

Studies show that the quality of care in a nursing home can be profoundly affected by who owns it. It’s not always clear who should be held accountable, though: Many nursing homes are owned by companies that are owned by other companies, obscuring who has the ultimate decision-making power.

As more nursing homes are sold, information about an incoming owner’s performance in other homes becomes more relevant, as it may provide insight into how their latest acquisitions will fare.

To help navigate the confusing world of nursing home ownership, ProPublica’s Nursing Home Inspect now publishes detailed ownership information for facilities and an upgraded search to help you sift through the information.