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Health Serv Res. 1996 Aug;31(3):327-46.

The effects of ownership and ownership change on nursing home industry costs.

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  • 1School of Social Work, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242-1223, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study examines the effects of ownership type and ownership change on nursing home cost structures, differentiating patient care costs from plant costs.

DATA SOURCES:

Administrative data from the Michigan Department of Social Services, Medical Services Administration (Medicaid), and the Michigan Department of Public Health are used. Cost data are based on audited cost reports for 393 nursing care facilities in Michigan in 1989. Other facility characteristics are based on data from the 1989 annual licensing and certification survey conducted by the Michigan Department of Public Health.

STUDY DESIGN:

A series of ordinary least squares regressions is estimated, in which the dependent variable is either per diem patient costs or per diem plant costs. Ownership types are defined as chain, proprietary non-chain, freestanding non-profit, government-owned, and hospital-based facilities. Pooled estimation techniques, as well as separate regressions by ownership type, are presented to test for interaction effects. Key variables include whether a facility changed ownership in the preceding five years and whether chain facilities are in-state- or out-of-state-owned, in addition to size, payer mix, and case mix.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Behavioral differences among nursing home ownership types in respect to patient care costs tended to distinguish government-owned and hospital-based facilities from the freestanding homes rather than the usual distinction between for-profit and not-for-profit classes. Variables traditionally included in nursing home cost studies, such as size, occupancy, payer mix and case mix, were found to have similar effects on per diem patient care costs for freestanding non-profit homes as well as for chain proprietary facilities. With regard to the effects of ownership change on per diem plant and per diem patient costs, however, there are few differences among ownership types. Chain and non-chain for-profit facilities, non-profit homes, and hospital long-term care units that had changed ownership reported significantly higher per diem plant costs than facilities without a change of ownership, but did not spend more on patient-related costs. Michigan Medicaid plant reimbursement system policy changes instituted in 1985 to promote continued ownership of facilities were not entirely successful.

CONCLUSIONS:

Non-profit homes look increasingly like their for-profit counterparts with respect to spending on patient care costs. Increased competition for the more lucrative private-pay patients, coupled with declining state Medicaid reimbursement to nursing homes, may have blurred the historical distinctions between the non-profit and for-profit sectors in the nursing home industry. An exception to increasing homogeneity within the nursing home industry is the tendency of proprietary homes to experience more frequent changes of ownership, which results in higher capital costs passed on to state Medicaid programs. Findings from this study indicate that while facility sales increase per diem plant costs, they do not result in increased spending for direct patient care, suggesting that state Medicaid programs may be indirectly subsidizing facility sales with no accompanying increase in expenditures for patient care. To discourage frequent facility sales, state Medicaid programs may need to consider alternative methods of reimbursing nursing home owners for capital costs.

PMID:
8698588
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1070122
Free PMC Article
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