Most State Nursing Home Closures Not Related to Bankruptcy, UCSF Study Finds
Nursing home bankruptcies, a "highly publicized" issue in the state, have not prompted many facilities to close nor led to a shortage of services for seniors, a University of California-San Francisco study has found, the Sacramento Bee reports. Researchers yesterday presented the results of the study, which Sen. Deborah Oritz (D-Sacramento) requested after the sudden closure of some state nursing homes, to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and Subcommittee on Aging and Long-Term Care. The study examined 155 California nursing homes owned by eight nursing home chains that filed for bankruptcy in 2000 and found that bankruptcy preceded only two closures. The study found that "poor quality," not bankruptcy, "was the most oft-cited reason for closure." In addition, the study found that many of the eight nursing home chains that filed for bankruptcy restructured their finances or sold the homes but did not close the facilities. The study found that only 32, or 3%, of nursing homes in the state closed between 1995 and 2001, while 10% of elder care facilities in hospitals closed during the same period. However, Martin Kitchener, the study's lead author, told lawmakers that "state officials don't have enough financial information about nursing homes to provide adequate scrutiny." The study only examined nursing homes owned by chains because Kitchener said that state officials did not have information on independent nursing home closures, the Bee reports. Brenda Klutz, director of licensing for the Department of Health Services, told lawmakers that the department tracks financial problems at nursing homes and has established a new nursing home "financial solvency advisory group." The nursing home industry has said that insufficient reimbursements from the state combined with increases in their costs have placed nursing homes at risk, the Bee reports (Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 3/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.