GAO: Small group of private-equity firms dominates nursing home acquisitions

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Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA)
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA)

A new Government Accountability Office report highlights the need for greater transparency in nursing home ownership, three federal lawmakers say.

Private investment firms purchased 1,876 nursing homes form 1998 to 2008, according to the report. Ten firms accounted for 89% of these firms acquired. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), along with Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) released the report Wednesday.

"This GAO report found that a handful of private equity firms have been buying up nursing homes over the past decade—leaving seniors and their loved ones in the dark about who is making the decisions about their care," Stark said.

The lawmakers have requested a subsequent GAO report that will evaluate the relationship between these corporate structures and the quality of care provided to nursing home residents. The new healthcare reform law calls for new nursing home ownership reporting requirements.