Nursing homes in America are changing. Besides become more technologically equipped and altering their approach to care to a more person-centered method, nursing homes are experiencing a shift in ownership, from government and non-profit towards for-profit.

Changing Ownership

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regularly publishes a Nursing Home Data Compendium that evaluates the new data and information surrounding nursing homes in the United States and provides information as to how the picture is changing. Included in the 2012 compendium are several charts that display the changes that are occurring in the long term care industry amongst nursing homes. One of the charts, shown below, shows the change in nursing home ownership and how more nursing homes are moving toward for-profit status.

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For-Profit Flourishing

The number of nursing home facilities in the United States is on the downturn, but one type in particular is actually seeing an increase in prevalence. Between 2007 and 2011, non-profit and government owned nursing homes have declined in number by more than 7%. In 2002, 1,014 government owned nursing homes existed in the United States. By 2011, the number of nursing homes that are owned by the government had decreased to 891.

At the same time, the number of for-profit nursing homes, which now represent 69% of all nursing homes in the country, increased by 2.2% over that same five year period. In 2007, 10,638 nursing homes identified as for-profit. By 2011, that number had increased to 10,822. The number of non-profit nursing homes also declined from 4,720 in 2002 to 3,970 in 2011. The number of total facilities has gone down over time, but for-profit settings seem to be doing better than all other ownership types.

Due to low reimbursement rates and reports of faulty payment systems or delayed payments from the government, the shift from government owned to for-profit makes sense in terms of helping the nursing homes function at a proper level. When facilities are lacking in money they are owed from the government, operations cannot be run as smoothly as if they are being paid regularly and on time from private payers.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are one of the primary care settings for long term care, though they are typically the least preferred. They are the ideal setting for individuals who need regular medical care or have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia and therefore need daily help and supervision. The majority of long term care is actually received at home these days, but nursing homes will likely always have a place in the long term care industry because they provide a more secure home for residents who require such.

Long term care is a serious concern for individuals over the age of 65, as government studies estimate once you reach this age, the chance of needing care is 7 in 10. Though not every one will need care for an extended period of time, planning for this risk is crucial to helping protect your assets from the high cost of care that you may potentially face down the road one day. The cost of one year of care in a nursing home now runs more than $87,000 on average in the United States, something that most people cannot afford to simply pay out of pocket without incurring huge budgetary changes. If you have not yet planned for long term care, read more here about how to do so.

To read more about the state of nursing homes in the United States today, read the 2012 Nursing Home Data Compendium here.