PruittHealth CEO Talks Shift Towards Luxury Skilled Nursing, Expansion Plans, Staffing, ‘Transparent’ Ancillaries

Neil Pruitt, CEO of PruittHealth, believes that the movement toward creating all-private rooms for residents represents an industry shift to enhancing healing experiences and improving infection control. 

To that end, PruittHealth recently added a 104-bed luxury skilled nursing center in Beaufort, North Carolina, and a key feature of its layout emphasizes patient comfort and privacy – something that should be a blueprint for others in the sector, Pruitt told Skilled Nursing News. 

Last year, PruittHealth acquired three additional skilled nursing centers in Georgia in October, and this year the organization plans to expand with ongoing projects in Florida and North Carolina. 


Pruitt sat down with SNN to discuss these plans for expansion and the challenges of balancing expansion with maintaining quality care. He also talked about investments in staff recruiting efforts, AI-driven solutions for workforce optimization and patient care, and apps for communication among stakeholders, and implementing structural changes in the post-pandemic period. For infection prevention efforts, these include advanced air pressure systems and hiring of dedicated infection preventionists, he said.

Pruitt also shared his views on the recent scrutiny of mid-size operators, who have come under fire for underperforming on quality metrics, as well as on the charge that nursing homes are hiding profits through ancillary business.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.


SNN: Do you think luxury facilities are the future of skilled nursing?

Neil Pruitt: We believe that our industry is evolving and changing, similar to acute care. As part of the healing experience, most people would prefer a private room. Therefore, we’ve been working to design our facilities to be as efficient as possible in terms of square footage while maximizing patient comfort. This includes all private rooms. What’s unique about our facility is that we also have several suites. If someone is there with a loved one, we can combine rooms with a small sitting area for double occupancy if needed. Otherwise, all patients have private rooms. We believe this is important not only for comfort but also for safety. Given the rise of infectious diseases like COVID-19, RSV, and other respiratory illnesses, having private rooms maximizes our infection control efforts and provides a great environment for getting our patients back to optimal health.

SNN: How are you balancing expansion with maintaining quality care?

Neil Pruitt: We put just as much effort into our systems as we do into our physical plants. We work full-time, almost 24 hours a day, on our recruiting efforts because we believe that staff is key. One thing we’re proud of is that, except for three new acquisitions, we have zero agency staff. This allows us to deliver cost-effective care, and we also invest heavily in technology. Our preferred health app is a unique way for loved ones to monitor their patient’s vitals, statistics, and activities, ensuring transparency with all stakeholders, especially families.

SNN: Are there any lessons from the pandemic that you’re incorporating?

Neil Pruitt: Certainly. Our facilities, including this one, have level one units that can isolate sections of the building with positive and negative air pressure and separate entrances, enabling us to isolate and treat patients effectively in case of another COVID-like outbreak. We’ve been implementing these practices across all our centers, and we believe it’s a unique advantage for us.

SNN: Any other notable structural changes?

Neil Pruitt: We strive to have consistent staff to minimize the spread of infectious diseases, with dedicated infection preventionists on staff either full or part-time. Additionally, we’ve hired 45 full-time recruiters solely focused on hiring staff. In terms of construction, we’ve enhanced our break areas to create a better working environment for our staff, making it easier to attract and retain talent.

SNN: How are you managing the workforce and managed care pressures?

Neil Pruitt: Our managed care partners are a vital part of what we do. So, we try to work with them proactively, looking at what they need from us to ensure continuous coverage for our patients. It is obviously challenging, more so than traditional Medicare. But we have found that if we give them the information they need, we are able to partner with them and really achieve the best outcomes despite the challenges. Many operators across the country are experiencing outage in Change Healthcare, which is our clearinghouse for claims. Many of our processes currently have to be done manually. So we look forward to moving to a new clearinghouse that will allow us to restart our automation. We are starting to use generative AI to analyze denied claims and ensure that we provide the necessary information so that we get paid for the services we provide. The most important part of patient care is not interrupted by denials of authorization or coverage.

SNN: What platform are you working with?

Neil Pruitt: We’re developing our own platform in collaboration with Accenture Consulting, leveraging tools from Microsoft as well. Our unique position as skilled nursing providers with extended services like home infusion and managed care requires tailored technology solutions.

SNN: Could you share your thoughts on the recent piece in The Conversation regarding mid-size skilled nursing operators?

I think what they are really trying to do in that piece and follow-up pieces is to attack alternative capital sources such as REITs and private equity. I mentioned in that article that we have some very creative relationships with REITs that allowed us to expand during the pandemic. Our partners have been nothing but supportive, and the accusation that they’re robbing the operations is quite absurd because we would never agree to that. Regarding the supposition on the ancillaries, all of ours roll up to a parent company. I know there are going to be some new reporting guidelines, and it will be pretty transparent to everyone. It frustrates me because they insinuate that we’re trying to hide things. We’re pretty transparent. Every one of our operations is called Pruitt Health – it has my last name on it, and we’re proud of what we do and how we operate. Unfortunately, there really hasn’t been a lot of profit since the pandemic, putting a lot of pressure on many operators. While there may be some that have separate companies and do rob operations, that’s obviously not us. To make their story more appealing to the general public, I think they’re trying to paint with a wide brush, and I just don’t see how we’re a part of that picture they’re trying to paint.

SNN: Any further expansion plans?

Neil Pruitt: We have ongoing projects in Florida and are opening a new facility in Pensacola soon. Additionally, we’re excited about a $350 million project in Raleigh for a continuing care retirement community, aiming to offer a luxurious product and modern facilities to promote healing effectively.

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