The drastic effect private equity has on nursing homes

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2022 | Nursing Home Planning

You understand the importance of research when looking for a nursing home. However, one thing you may overlook is the potential meddling of a private equity firm in its attempt to take over and change it to a for-profit facility. Beware.

When private equity firms acquire nursing homes, expect drastic budget cuts, an extreme reduction in staff and a plummeting in quality of care, according to a recent article in The New Yorker.

Staff reductions, quality of care shrinks

The article focuses on an 18-month investigation related to the 2021 acquisition of a Richmond, Virginia, nursing home by New Jersey-based private equity firm Portopiccolo Group.

Within two weeks of the acquisition, the private equity firm slashed staffing numbers. Staffing is usually a nursing home’s largest operational cost but staffing also represents the largest predictor in the outcome of resident care.

When staffing decreases, an assortment of preventable problems can occur. Residents may fall more and have fewer baths and showers. In one instance at the Virginia nursing home, a resident discovered her oxygen had unplugged and summoned staff. It took 90 minutes before a staff member arrived.

Study: death rates increased by 10%

Portopiccolo also eliminated certain amenities, helping create conditions that led to a deadly COVID-19 outbreak and boosted the Virginia home’s mortality rate.

The New Yorker article also cited a University of Pennsylvania study that revealed death rates in U.S. nursing homes increased 10% after private equity firms purchased them. In addition, Medicare costs also rose 11% ,and quality and staffing shrank. The nationwide study included almost 10 years of data.

Be thorough in your nursing home research

Take heed. You, too, must do your due diligence when seeking a nursing home for you or your loved one. Be thorough, make appointed and impromptu visits and talk with administrators as well as staff. You do not want to see your loved one in such an untenable situation.