Virginia Nursing Homes: Less Staff, More Profits?

According to Virginia Business (March 2013),  a regional business magazine, four Southwest Virginia nursing homes were included in this year’s list of the “Top 25 Most Profitable Nursing Homes.” 

Yet, we often hear the same refrain from nursing home administrators when poor care is given: we cannot afford to hire enough staffThat’s hogwash and now we have the facts to prove it.

So how are Virginia nursing homes making so much money if they cannot afford to hire staff?

The following Southwest Virginia nursing homes were listed as among the “most profitable”:

1. Friendship Health and Rehab Center – Roanoke, VA

Friendship Health and Rehab Center has 373 beds and net patient revenue of $30,704.  This translates to $10,267,571 in annual profit if all beds are  full.

2.  Richfield Recovery and Care Center – Salem, VA

Richfield Recovery and Care Center has 315 beds and net patient revenue of $22,026.  This translates to $6,938,190 in annual profit if all beds are full.

3.  Roman Eagle Memorial Home – Danville, VA

Roman Eagle Memorial Home has 312 beds and net patient revenue of $20,897. This translates to $6,519,864 in annual profit if all beds are full.

4.  Blue Ridge Nursing Center of Martinsville/Henry County – Martinsville, VA

Blue Ridge Nursing Center of Martinsville/Henry County has 300 beds and net patient revenue of $16,751. This translates to $5,025,300 in annual profit if all beds are full.

In the same year that some Virginia nursing homes are making “record profits,” most Virginia certified nurse aide (CNA’s) are still being paid $7.25 per hour. These are the people responsible for providing daily care to our spouses, parents and grandparents in Virginia nursing homes.

Often, we find nursing homes have not hired enough of these very important staff – which seems odd, considering the fact that most make minimum wage. In our experience, there’s often one nurse per 20 or 25 residents.  Ask yourself, what happens if there are multiple patient emergencies at one time?  The answer is one or two of those emergencies don’t get the prompt attention they deserve and the results can be serious injuries or death.

Some states require a certain number of nursing home staff.  Unfortunately, Virginia is not one of those states.

My Take:  I realize these nursing homes do not always have a resident in every bed on every day.  However, I bet they do have a greater than 80% occupancy rate.  But regardless of their occupancy rate, if any nursing home administrator tells you that they cannot afford enough nurses to care for your loved one, tell them you know better and take your family member elsewhere!

Dan Frith

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at dfrith@frithlawfirm.com.