"We wanted to study this issue in a quantitatively rigorous way, for example controlling for broader trends within nursing home markets and particular facilities over time," says Grabowski. "The attention to these transactions and the issues they raise is important, and we hoped our study would provide a comprehensive and accurate view of what was happening."
Stevenson and Grabowski examined a range of nursing home outcomes and compared the quality of care in private equity purchased nursing homes to those that had not undergone these transactions.
The researchers looked at various indicators including nurse and aide staffing, survey deficiencies, and a range of resident outcomes including the prevalence of catheter use, urinary tract infections, weight loss, restraint use, pressure ulcers, residents' ability to take care of their own daily needs, and range of motion loss.
When the data were analyzed, the researchers found scant evidence to suggest that the overall quality of resident care had declined substantially following these purchases. Some factors, such as RN staffing, did in fact decline. But others, such as aide staffing, catheter use, UTIs, weight loss, and pressure ulcers, actually improved.
"After taking facility and market trends into account, we did not find a substantial drop in the quality of care delivered in these nursing homes overall," says Stevenson.
The researchers caution that these findings are preliminary, given the recent nature of many of these transactions. In addition, they emphasize that it is still important to consider a range of issues around ownership transparency and accountability that extend beyond private equity investment.
"Our study provides an initial snapshot that is somewhat reassuring," says Stevenson. "But the attention on these deals and the corporate structures that emerge from th
|Contact: David Cameron|
Harvard Medical School