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Maryland’s for-profit nursing home chains rank lowest in family-reported care quality ratings, according to a new study.

To study the link between nursing home chain size and profit status, researchers collected consumer reports and survey data from 2007 to 2010 for every non-government operated nursing home in the state. Consumer-reported data included overall quality of care, recommendation of the facility, staff performance, meals, physical environment and personal rights.

Maryland’s independently-owned nonprofit facilities had the highest overall rating at 8.9, with small nonprofit chains coming in second with a rating of 8.6. Independent for-profit facilities had an 8.5 overall rating.

Facilities that were part of for-profit chains had the three lowest ratings among nursing home types, with small, medium and large for-profit chains bringing in  ratings of 8.2, 7.9 and 8.0, respectively.

Ratings for individual factors like recommendation rate, staff communication and care quality followed a similar pattern, with lower consumer ratings in facilities that were part of a for-profit chain, researchers said.

The study’s authors include researchers from the University of Albany, the University of Rochester Medical Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, the University of Michigan and Harvard Medical School.  

Results of the study were published in the January issue of Medical Care.

Previous studies have linked for-profit long-term care facilities with poorer quality than their government-owned or nonprofit counterparts. A study released in October found for-profit facilities to have significantly higher mortality rates and hospital admissions.