When it comes to nursing homes, nonprofit facilities may be the better option, according to a study from Physicians for a National Health Program. The authors reviewed 82 individual research studies and found that in 40 of them, all statistically significant comparisons favored nonprofit nursing homes over for-profit homes in terms of the quality of care.
Three of the studies favored for-profit nursing homes, while the remaining 39 studies had less consistent findings.
Nonprofit nursing homes ranked higher than for-profit facilities in two of the four most frequently reported quality measures – more or higher quality staffing and less prevalence of pressure ulcers or bedsores.
The report also suggested that nonprofit nursing homes performed better in two other quality measures – less frequent use of physical restraints and fewer noted deficiencies in government regulatory assessments.
"The reason patients’ quality of care is inferior in for-profit nursing homes is that administrators must spend 10 percent to 15 percent of revenues satisfying shareholders and paying taxes," said Dr Gordon Guyatt, senior author of the study and professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. "For-profit providers cut corners to ensure shareholders achieve their expected return on investment."
The report results are "entirely consistent" with other studies, said the authors.
"Our results should raise serious concerns about for-profit care, whether in nursing homes, hospitals, surgi-centers, or other outpatient facilities," Guyatt said.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are just over 16,000 nursing homes in the U.S. – 61.5 percent are private or for-profit, 30.8 percent are nonprofit, and 7.7 percent are government-owned.