NEW YORK – In today’s corporate world, businesses and brands are like trading cards: they’re bought and sold at a rapid pace. Even nursing homes are switching hands between corporate owners – with some of the transactions occurring just months apart. In many cases, it’s raising questions about the quality of care residents are receiving in New York nursing homes.
According to a Harvard study published this week, several corporations are targeting nursing homes with histories of health and safety violations – and the difficulties tend to persist far after the purchase is complete.
A nursing home negligence attorney at Cellino & Barnes says the report’s findings highlight the need for transparency in an industry notoriously plagued by health and safety concerns.
“If a corporation buys a troubled long-term care facility, one would expect the new owner to improve the quality of life there,” nursing home negligence lawyer Ross Cellino said. “That’s not always happening; and in many cases, families don’t even know the facility was sold.”
The Harvard study analyzed data from thousands of nursing home transactions between 1993 and 2010. According to the research, around 1,500 nursing homes changed hands every year. That’s about 26-thousand transactions.
The sales typically involved corporate chains.
Researchers said their study found a direct link between the number of times a facility was sold to the number of deficiencies.
Nursing homes with steady ownership had fewer problems.
Facilities that changed hands several times were found to have a long list of issues.
Study authors noted that the transactions themselves did not necessarily bring the quality of life down. Instead, they concluded the transactions were a tell-tale sign of a problematic nursing home.
“Nursing home sales are often accompanied by leadership and staff changes,” Cellino said. “Such changes can be hard on nursing home residents and their routines can sometimes have drastic changes.”
The Harvard study did not say why there was such a high-rate of turnover in the nursing home industry but previous research has often linked this to frequent changes in government policies.
One analysis claims safety problems arise in facilities with higher profit margins. Authors of that study claim for-profit facilities spend less on resident care, resulting in a lower quality of care.
In many states, a nursing home sale may require a public hearing if residents and families petition their state health department but health officials say these transactions are rarely contested.
The nursing home attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have studied the issue themselves and developed the Parent Care app to provide families with more information about area nursing homes and their violation histories.
You can learn more about the Parent Care app or download it here.