For-Profit vs. Non-Profit: Which Type of Nursing Home Provides the Best Care?

For-Profit vs. Non-Profit: Which Type of Nursing Home Provides the Best Care?

For-Profit vs. Non-Profit: Which Type of Nursing Home Provides the Best Care? 150 150 Dan Frith

Our experience tells us that “non-profit” nursing homes (typically facilities operated by churches) provide the best care to its residents.  For example, there are 3 or 4 nursing homes in and around Roanoke, Virginia for which we have never heard one complaint in the 15 years we have handled nursing home abuse and neglect cases.

Why?  In our opinion the answer lies in the fact that non-profit nursing homes takes those excess dollars (“profits”) and hire more nurses and nurse aides.  These facilities take those extra dollars and spend more for good tasting and nutritional meals.  The extra money goes to better and safer lifts, beds, wheelchairs, and more.

While we have long held this opinion in our law firm, we never really had empiracal facts to back up our opinions…until now.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy just released a report which noted the following:

In 2011, the first-ever analysis of the ten largest for-profit nursing home chains reported that between 2003 and 2008, compared to all other ownership groups, facilities owned by the top ten for-profit chains had:

     1.  The lowest staffing levels;

     2.  The highest number of deficiencies identified by public regulatory agencies; and

     3.  The highest number of deficiencies causing harm or jeopardy to residents.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in 2011 that nursing facilities acquired between 2004 and 2007 by the top ten private equity firms:

     1.  Had more total deficiencies than not-for-profit facilities;

     2.  Reported lower total nurse staffing ratios; and

     3.  Showed capital-related cost increases and higher profit margins, compared to other facilities.

In 2010, the GAO reported that compared to other nursing facilities, Special Focus Facilities (i.e., those identified by CMS as among the poorest performing facilities nationwide):

     1.  Are more likely to be part of a chain and for-profit, compared to other facilities;

     2.  Have fewer registered nurses per resident day; and

     3.  Are ranked lower on CMS’s Five-Star System.

My Take:  If you have the choice and all other things being equal, place your loved on in a non-profit nursing home.  You will be glad you did.


About the author

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

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