Last station nursing home

Some of the largest nursing-home chains in California have blurry business connections and backgrounds, which, according to an investigation by The Sacramento Bee, is no accident.

Reporters used federal and state records to look at the ownership of the state’s 25 largest nursing-home conglomerates.

The story features an example of a businesswoman who was researching the nursing home where her mother died, and she could not pinpoint who owned the facility.

The newspaper dug further and found that this particular facility was owned by someone who had secretly become the state’s largest nursing-home owner.

The Bee’s investigation showed his facilities had some of the highest volume of complaints and deficiencies in the state, but no one could truly trace that back to him because of vague websites and documents regarding the nursing homes under his ownership.

A convoluted ownership structure, [elder advocates] say, is a way for owners to hide assets and shield themselves from civil and criminal liability when patients are abused or neglected in their care. Confusing lines of ownership also make it harder for regulators to detect worrisome patterns of care among facilities within a chain.

Requirements in the Affordable Care Act may help to combat the trend of shadowy organizations taking care of the nation’s elderly. The facilities will be required to report more than ever to the government on staffing and patient care, and what they report will be compared to audits and payroll documents, as opposed to trusting what the groups self-report.

Gleaned from records of California’s 25 largest chains of skilled nursing facilities:

Company structures can be extraordinarily elaborate. … (The Bee found that some owners created dozens of business entities, making it nearly impossible to connect one nursing home facility to another by its common owner.)

Many nursing-home chains create management companies to provide administrative services to their homes. Owners say the model creates efficiencies. Critics … contend it’s a ploy to skim off nursing-home revenues to line investors’ pockets.

▪ Ten of the 25 largest chains in the state make it hard for consumers to see what facilities they own….

▪ California nursing-home owners and executives have widely diverse backgrounds, with many lacking health care experience….

To read the investigative series on California’s nursing-home chains from the beginning, click here.

Reach Halle Stockton at 412-315-0263 or Follow her on Twitter @HalleStockton.

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Halle is executive director, editor-in-chief of PublicSource. She has served as editor-in-chief since May 2022 after seven years as managing editor during which PublicSource won two consecutive international...