How To Contact Nursing Home Owners About Problems  
If you or a relative live in a nursing home, the owner of that home should want to make sure you are satisfied with the care provided. You are their customer. However, many nursing home residents and their representatives do not know how to contact the owner about any problems they experience. This Fact Sheet explains when and how to contact a nursing home owner to express concerns you may have.

Who owns nursing homes?

Nursing homes are owned by individuals, partnerships and corporations. The majority of nursing homes are owned by corporations. Most of the corporate-owned nursing homes are private, for-profit facilities. In Georgia, less than 25% of nursing homes are run by nonprofit corporations. Most of the nonprofit nursing homes are run by religious or fraternal organizations, hospitals, or county government.

Most nursing homes in Georgia are owned or operated by a person or corporation which owns, fully or partly, several nursing homes.

If you would like to find out how to contact the owner of a particular nursing home, contact your local ombudsman for assistance.

Who runs nursing homes?

Under federal law, all Medicare and Medicaid approved nursing homes must have a governing body. The governing body establishes policies for the management and operation of the home and appoints an administrator to run the facility. The owner often serves on the nursing home's governing body.

One of the policies a governing body must establish is a grievance procedure. The nursing home should have written policies explaining how to file a complaint with the facility. This policy should tell you how to contact the governing body if you are not satisfied with the response from the homes' staff.

Your Right To Complain

Federal and state laws give you the right to complain to the nursing home or to outside sources without discrimination or retaliation. If you do complain, the nursing home must make " prompt efforts" to resolve your concern.

When To Contact the Owner

When you experience a problem in a nursing home, it is good practice to work up the chain of command to seek attention to your concern. For example, if you are concerned about a nursing problem, start by contacting the charge nurse on duty. If that contact is not effective, consider contacting the Director of Nursing, and next, the administrator of the home.

If the administrator and other staff members do not address your concerns in a satisfactory manner, you can go beyond the nursing home's staff to get help. A number of options exist including:

filing a formal complaint with the Healthcare Facilities Regulation Division;

seeking legal assistance; or

contacting the ombudsman for help.

If you cannot resolve your concern at this level, another option is to contact the owner or governing body of the nursing home. It is best to put your complaint in writing and ask for a written response. By putting your complaint in writing, you can later show others that you gave the home an opportunity to address your concerns.

Owners who care about their business will take your concerns seriously. While the owner may not directly resolve your problem, he or she has the authority to make changes at the home. Just contacting the owner may convince the nursing home staff to take your concerns more seriously.

On the other hand, your concerns may be caused by the owner's or governing body's operating policies. For example, if the owner does not supply enough funds to hire competent staff members or buy needed supplies, the problems you will see may be directly caused by the owner's policies. If this is the case, your contact with the owner may not solve the problem but may be useful in other ways.

For example, if you find it necessary to take legal action, the owner's failure to respond to your concerns may strengthen your case. Copies of your letters and other information may also help state or federal inspectors document problems and enable enforcement actions to be taken.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

The information contained in this web site applies only to GEORGIA, USA. It is intended only as INFORMATION and does not constitute legal ADVICE, nor does reading, downloading or otherwise using this site create an attorney-client relationship.  Anyone seeking specific legal advice should contact an attorney licensed in the appropriate state, and should never rely upon the information provided herein, or any other web site, for that matter.