Staffing Shortages

For-Profit Ownership is the Problem

As a long-time nursing home attorney, I can assure you that for-profit chains have lower quality of care. A new study verifies the obvious. Evidentiary findings published in the Journal of Long-Term Care serve as the latest evidence against for-profit management of nursing homes.

Dozens of studies prove the negative relationship between ownership structure and quality of care including performance, and COVID-19 deaths. For-profits maintain lower staffing levels and less personal protective equipment.

A 2016 report co-authored by Charlene Harrington found the “profit incentive has been shown to be directly related to low staffing.” For-profit facilities operate with less staff and more quality deficiencies than their non-profit counterparts.

A national survey shows 94% of nursing homes face staffing shortages. This is nothing new. Experts emphasize the need for strong federal minimum staffing standards. For-profit homes — which make up roughly 70% of the industry — operate with less staff to cut back on their costs and boost profits.

Dane Henning is the Director of the National Association of Health Care Assistants. He represents thousands of caregivers. He said:

“The problem of our staffing crisis that we’re currently in America’s nursing homes, it needs to be resolved and needs to be resolved now, it needed to be resolved before COVID, in fact, if we would have had a decent staffing percentage going into COVID, we could have saved a lot of lives, during COVID, and so now that it’s getting worse, let’s go ahead and get this thing fixed and not sweep this thing under the rug.” 

He is right. Safe staffing is necessary. The residents deserve it. The solution is to increase the quality and quantity of staff by paying them a living wage. Rules must require facilities to use taxpayer funds efficiently and effectively for the care of the residents.