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SPECIAL REPORT: Quality of care differs in Naples for-profit vs. nonprofit nursing homes

November 29, 2009
By Thomas Hargrove and Lee Bowman, Scripps Howard News Service

Editor's note: Second of two parts

WASHINGTON _ How good the care is at Naples-area nursing homes may come down to who owns them, according to a study of state inspection records conducted by the Daily News and Scripps Howard News Service.

Nursing homes owned by for-profit companies received significantly lower rankings by state inspectors than did homes owned by nonprofit groups or local governments.

There are 28 nursing homes in and around Naples that were inspected by state health officials and tracked by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Eighteen of these, or 64 percent, are privately owned, for-profit homes. That tracks closely with the national average for private ownership of nursing homes, which is 68 percent.

For-profit companies nationwide tend to operate their homes with smaller staffs, and that was the case in Naples.

The average was less than 1.5 hours of staff time by a certified nursing home worker per resident per day at for-profit homes. But the average was more than 1.6 hours for the nine homes operated by nonprofit groups and 1.7 hours for the lone government-run home.

The overall average for Naples-area homes was 1.5 hours, the same as the national average.
The overall average rating for Naples-area nursing homes was 2.5 stars on the federal government’s five-star rating system, according to the Daily News’ study. But the average ranking was less than 2.2 stars for homes operated by for-profit companies, 3.2 stars for the nine nonprofit homes and 3 stars at the government-owned home..

There were 2,675 people who died in Naples-area nursing homes in 2005 and 2006, according to the Daily News study of death records maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of these, 42 people died of accidents, skin infections or other potentially avoidable causes. That’s a rate of 1.6 deaths per 100, which is well below the national average of nearly 4 such deaths per 100.

Contacts

State Long Term Care Ombudsman
Brian Lee
Florida State LTC Ombudsman Council
Department of Elder Affairs
4040 Esplanade Way
Tallahassee, Fla. 32399
(888) 831-0404
Web site:http://ombudsman.myflorida.com/index.php
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Office on Aging
E. Douglas Beach
Department of Elder Affairs
Building B - Suite 152
4040 Esplanade Way
Tallahassee, Fla. 32399-7000
(850) 414-2000

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Licensure and Certifications
Elizabeth Dudek
Deputy Secretary
Agency For Health Care Administration
Division for Health Quality Assurance
2727 Mahan Drive
Room 170, Mail Stop #9
Tallahassee, Fla 32308-5403
(850) 487-2528

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Clare Caldwell-Horton
District Ombudsman
District 8 - Fort Myers Ombudsman Council
Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
2295 Victoria Ave. Room 135
Fort Myers, Fla 33901
(239) 338-2563
Area Served: Sarasota, DeSoto, Charlotte, Glades, Lee, Hendry and Collier