The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services early Wednesday announced it had added data highlighting nursing home ownership changes to its website in an effort to increase transparency.
The move, which marks the first time the agency has compiled and shared information on mergers, acquisitions, consolidations and changes in ownership, supports a broader White House initiative aimed at providing insights into private-equity and other ownership types.
CMS said it also posted similar information for the nation’s hospitals. Both data sets range from 2016 to 2021 and include information regarding Medicare-funded facilities that had changed hands or otherwise seen changes in financial control.
The nursing home figures describe transactions involving more than 3,000 skilled nursing facilities, dwarfing the number of similar changes for hospitals, the Department of Health and Human Services reported.
“Today, for the first time, we are releasing data on the impact of hospital and nursing home consolidation for people across our nation,” HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “By improving the quality of reporting by hospitals and nursing homes on ownership and consolidation, we also advance President Biden’s agenda to promote competition, lower healthcare costs for American families and protect patients.”
The information is now available on data.cms.gov, and CMS quickly encouraged its use by “researchers, enforcers and the public (to) analyze trends and issues” in skilled nursing.
“Hospital and nursing facility consolidation leaves many underserved areas with inadequate or more expensive healthcare options,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “This new data gives researchers, state and federal enforcement agencies and the public new opportunities to examine how mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, and changes of ownership impact access to care, care quality and prices as a way to enable greater transparency and insight into the hospital and nursing home industries.
Along with the data, the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation also released a related analysis of the new CMS data examining trends in changes of ownership over the past six years.
- Changes of ownership have been much more common in nursing homes than hospitals over the past six years. There were more than 3,000 changes in ownership among skilled nursing facilities, but just 347 for hospitals from 2016 to 2021. The numbers are based on information reported to CMS through the Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System (PECOS). Part of the disparity can be explained by the greater number of nursing homes — more than 15,000, compared to about 6,000 hospitals. However, by percentage, the statistics imply an ownership change for more than 20% of nursing homes, compared to less than 6% of hospitals, over the six-year period.
- A majority (62.3%) of skilled nursing facilities that were purchased have a single organizational owner, 6.9% have multiple organizations as owners, 18.2% have only individual owners and 12.7% have both types of owners.
In response to the Biden administration’s 2022 focus on private-equity involvement in the sector, nursing home association leaders have claimed it is misguided, emphasizing the low percentage of private-equity investment in the sector.
A legal expert recently also told McKnight’s that the federal government needs a better understanding of private investment in nursing homes overall and the role it plays in capital and quality improvements.
The expansive White House reform package was introduced Feb. 28. The next day President Joe Biden made a historic mention of nursing homes in his first State of the Union address. In it, he targeted private-equity investors of nursing homes in particular.
This is a developing story. Please check back for more details.