Could “ownership transparency” help to prevent injuries and severe harm to patients in skilled nursing facilities in San Diego County? Nursing home abuse and neglect in Southern California have many causes, including issues of understaffing and failure to properly investigate staff members prior to employment. Commentators often argue that certain nursing homes put profits before patient well-being. According to a recent article in Skilled Nursing News, the Biden administration has been focusing on “ownership transparency,” or addressing who owns — or what entities own — skilled nursing facilities across the country. The idea is that nursing homes that are owned by real estate investment trusts (REITs) may not provide the same quality of care as other nursing homes.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed a rule aimed at “ownership transparency,” or as the article describes it, “a rule requiring more ownership disclosures and floating definitions of private equity and real estate investment trusts.” Yet as the article reports, “providers are pushing back on elements of this proposal,” and commentators argue that “the proposed policy’s definitions of different ownership structures is still too vague.” What do you need to know about the proposed rule and its implications? Our San Diego County nursing home abuse lawyers can say more.
Proposed Rule is Part of Broader Ownership Transparency Plan
First, it is important to know that the newly proposed rule is part of a broader ownership transparency plan. Indeed, as the article notes, beyond the proposed rule, “the Government Accountability Office (GAO) last month issued a report calling for nursing home ownership data to be shared in a more consumer-friendly manner,” and a study was published in Health Affairs that identified concerns about REIT-owned nursing homes. The notion of ownership transparency is also identified in the article as “a key pillar” for the Biden administration “of its nursing home reform push.”
Does it really matter who owns nursing homes? In other words, does the overall ownership of a facility correlate to better or worse care for residents or to more or fewer incidents of injuries caused by nursing home abuse or neglect? Studies suggest it does matter, especially when the facility has REIT ownership.
Finding the Right Nursing Home
How can you tell if a facility has potentially problematic ownership? Currently, CMS rules require that a facility must report indirect ownership interests of 5% or more. However, if the proposed rule were to pass, a facility would be required to identify the party with indirect ownership interest as a private equity company or an REIT, thereby providing potential residents and their families with additional information.
Some commentators say there is a need to be more precise about and to provide more specific distinctions among forms of ownership that include REITs, “private capital,” and “private equity,” especially when distinctions can matter in terms of potential quality of care. According to the article, public comments for the proposed rule will close in mid-April 2023. In the meantime, it is important to remember that ownership interests in a skilled nursing facility are never the sole factor in determining the likelihood of abuse or neglect. To be sure, injuries from abuse and neglect can occur at any facility in Southern California — even at a facility with no history of safety violations or patient injuries.
Contact a San Diego County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you have questions about ownership transparency issues in nursing homes or if you need help considering a nursing home abuse claim, one of the experienced San Diego nursing home abuse attorneys at our firm can assist you. Contact the Walton Law Firm today.
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