What is a For Profit Nursing Home?
December 26, 2018
The Two Types of Nursing Homes
The quality of a nursing home is the first thing most people look for when admitting a family member into such a facility. When determining nursing home quality, though, it is important to consider whether a nursing home is non-profit or for-profit, as there is often a great difference in the quality of care between the two.
What is the Point of For-Profit Nursing Homes?
For-profit nursing homes are often run by large corporations that have shareholders they have to report to. Shareholders invest in the nursing home, hoping they will get a return on their investment. In addition to these shareholders, the businesses behind the homes also want to turn a profit. Because of all these factors, for-profit nursing homes are often more concerned with the bottom line than they are with patient care.
Over-Billing to Gain A Profit
One way in which for-profit nursing homes try to capitalize on their profit margin is by over-billing Medicare or Medicaid. When nursing homes have to provide treatment for their patients, they can bill Medicare or Medicaid and be reimbursed for some of the treatment. When nursing homes over-bill these agencies, however, they may receive money for treatments that were never administered.
The act of over-billing is illegal, but this does not mean it does not happen in both non-profit and for-profit nursing homes. However, studies have shown it is more than twice as likely to occur within for-profit nursing homes.
Over-billing is not only illegal, but it also hurts patients. Not only are for-profit nursing homes much more likely to over-bill Medicare and Medicaid, they are also more likely to put patients through testing and treatments they do not need to get reimbursed.
Furthermore, for-profit nursing homes also stand to gain more from Medicare patients than non-profit nursing homes. While non-profits only receive nine percent of Medicare for patient treatments, for-profit homes receive 20 percent.
How For-Profit Nursing Homes May Hurt Patients
In 2010, a man named Billy Seigler was admitted to Governors Creek Health and Rehabilitation in Green Cove Springs. Seigler had suffered a broken pelvis and broken right leg, both of which required therapy. While he did ask for therapy, he was repeatedly told by the for-profit nursing home the therapy was not covered by his government benefits—which was not true.
Besides denying treatments for financial reasons, there are other ways for-profit nursing homes may harm patients. As a cost-cutting measure, for-profit homes often have far fewer registered nurses on staff. Due to the lack of nurses, illnesses and injuries are much more common in for-profit nursing homes. Falls, bedsores, and patients being overmedicated are just some of the most common complaints in for-profit homes.
Know the Difference Between Non-Profit and For-Profit Nursing Homes
It can be difficult to find a nursing home that is perfect. However, for-profit homes are usually trying to balance what is best for patients with what is best for their bottom line, and whatever brings in more profits typically wins out over patient care. This is the biggest difference between for-profit and non-profit nursing homes, and the biggest reason why non-profits are likely to offer better patient care than their for-profit counterparts.