You've probably heard the mantra "Private business can do it better." But, when it comes to nursing homes, can it?
A new study and sweeping round of nursing home ratings sizing up more than 16,000 sites around the U.S. shows, in Wisconsin, it's our state-, county- and city-owned facilities earning the higher average overall grades, followed by nonprofit nursing home operators, followed by for profit operations. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently released its ratings, based on a new system. Some nursing homes are ecstatic with the findings. Others, a little baffled by them.
To be fair, any ratings glance is just that – a snapshot of a nursing home at a moment in time. Staff performance may have been uncharacteristically stellar or subpar during a rater's visit. There's a degree of subjectivity involved with any rating system. That said, a Northwestern analysis of the ratings statewide does back up the overall findings showing nonprofits and government nursing home operations are earning higher marks.
In Wisconsin, the average overall scores on the CMS's five-star scale for government-operated nursing homes was 3.76. That was followed by nonprofit operations' 3.42 average score and for profit operations' 2.57. Winnebago County's taxpayer-owned Park View Health Center (even before it opened its new facility north of Oshkosh) earned five-star marks, a testament to the quality of care delivered within these top-rated organizations, not just their physical environs.
It should be obvious that Govt would do a better job in nursing and senior care. There is no place for profit in providing this service on a large scale.
The customers are, as a general group, people who are either beyond their earning years, or unable to earn. Therefore the incentive to supply high-quality care to all but the most affluent families is not there. The profit incentive can only be in the cutting of costs (and therefore quality of care).
However, a public facility is not accountable to a profit margin, they are accountable, in the end, to voters and elected officials. As long as expenses do not get to out of hand, the incentive is to provide a high-quality product.
Let me repeat, as long as these facilities are respectfully frugal with the taxpayers dime, all of the incentive is in providing quality of care.
Now that we have seen real numbers as to how gov't can supply this nursing care, when will the public make the logical jump that it will be the same for general medical care?