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HHS nursing home data shines floodlight on private equity

Sep 27, 2022
People in lab coats look up at an enormous stack of papers.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration unveiled a new publicly-available database displaying ownership of all Medicare-certified nursing homes on Monday.

Why it matters: This move by Health & Human Services provides insight into the administration's intention to improve transparency and increase scrutiny on the owners — including private equity firms — of healthcare services companies, and nursing homes in particular.

Catch up fast: In March, President Joe Biden in his State of the Union Address made clear his stance that "Wall Street firms" have an adverse impact on nursing home quality and costs.

  • "That ends on my watch," Biden stated.
  • For the first time, the CMS in April made available data on M&A, consolidation and changes of ownership for hospitals and nursing homes enrolled in Medicare from 2016 to 2022.
  • The Government Accountability Office, per an April Kaiser Health report, is investigating the ownership of nursing homes, including by PE groups – with a report poised to come out in the fall.

Details: The data released on Monday has ownership details of approximately 15,000 nursing homes certified as a Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility, and will be updated monthly.

What they're saying: “Researchers, states, regulators and others will be able to use this new data source to learn more about the impacts that nursing home ownership structures have on the care provided to residents," CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said.

💭 Our thought bubble: These actions suggest private equity firms investing in health care (even beyond nursing homes) may be increasingly held accountable for the mishaps of their portfolio companies.

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