An empirical examination of relative profitability in the nursing facility industry between ownership form and regionality in the state of Texas

Kris Joseph Knox, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The purpose of this research is to examine the relative profitability of the firm within the nursing facility industry in Texas. An examination is made of the variables expected to affect profitability and of importance to the design and implementation of regulatory policy. To facilitate this inquiry, specific questions addressed are: (1) Do differences in ownership form affect profitability (defined as operating income before fixed costs)? (2) What impact does regional location have on profitability? (3) Do patient case-mix and access to care by Medicaid patients differ between proprietary and non-profit firms and facilities located in urban versus rural regions, and what association exists between these variables and profitability? (4) Are economies of scale present in the nursing home industry? (5) Do nursing facilities operate in a competitive output market characterized by the inability of a single firm to exhibit influence over market price? Prior studies have principally employed a cost function to assess efficiency differences between classifications of nursing facilities. The inherent weakness in this approach is that it only considers technical efficiency. Not both technical and price efficiency which are the two components of overall economic efficiency. One firm is more technically efficient compared to another if it is able to produce a given quantity of output at the least possible costs. Price efficiency means that scarce resources are being directed towards their most valued use. Assuming similar prices in both input and output markets, differences in overall economic efficiency between firm classes are assessed through profitability, hence a profit function. Using the framework of the profit function, data from 1990 Medicaid Costs Reports for Texas, and the analytic technique of Ordinary Least Squares Regression, the findings of the study indicated (1) similar profitability between nursing facilities organized as for-profit versus non-profit and located in urban versus rural regions, (2) an inverse association between both payor-mix and patient case-mix with profitability, (3) strong evidence for the presence of scale economies, and (4) existence of a competitive market structure. The paper concludes with implications regarding reimbursement methodology and construction moratorium policies in Texas.

Subject Area

Economics|Health care

Recommended Citation

Knox, Kris Joseph, "An empirical examination of relative profitability in the nursing facility industry between ownership form and regionality in the state of Texas" (1992). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9401762.