Private-Equity Ownership of Nursing Homes Reduces Quality of Care

  In a recent article by the online news outlet, Market Watch, notes that for profit and private ownership nursing homes may be weakening facilities staffing level, as well as complying with federal standards of care for residents.

  It’s a Thursday morning in San Francisco, the day after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic, and Ronald Silva hasn’t slept for days, “if not a week,” he says. Silva is the president and CEO of private-equity firm Fillmore Capital Partners and chairman of the board of the nursing-home chain Golden Living Centers. He’s been up early calling his managers and nurses, he says, “cheering them on.” His facilities still don’t have COVID-19 testing kits, he says, but they have been screening vendors and staff for signs of infection.

  The fact that private-equity executives like Silva can play a pivotal role in nursing homes’ preparedness to fight the coronavirus-borne disease doesn’t sit well with some researchers and patient advocates. Many nursing homes are understaffed and ill-prepared to confront the pandemic because their owners have prioritized profits over patient care, patient advocates say. In particular, private-equity ownership of nursing homes across the U.S. has coincided with cost cutting, declining quality of care and increasing violations discovered in government inspections.

  A COVID-19 outbreak at a Seattle-area nursing home has drawn nationwide scrutiny to these facilities’ ability to ward off the virus. For-profit ownership and private-equity backing of nursing homes, academic studies show, may weaken facilities’ staffing levels and compliance with federal standards — two factors that researchers say will be critical in nursing homes’ fight against the disease.

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