Beverly Enterprises controls more than 60,000 nursing-home beds, more than any other company worldwide. But six other chains also enjoy significant shares of the industry, rapidly placing more patients in the hands of big conglomerates.

§ Integrated Health Services (Owings Mills, Maryland). The chain moved into the front ranks of the inudstry when it acquired rival Horizon/CMS Healthcare for $1.2 billion. It now boasts 42,600 beds and revenues of $3 billion.

§ Vencor (Louisville, Kentucky). The chain drew fire last year when it evicted low-income residents to make way for wealthier clientele. With 38,300 beds, it enjoys revenues of $3 billion.

§ Sun Healthcare Group (Albuquerque, New Mexico). After a buying spree that brought it two smaller chains, Sun has vaulted into the big leagues with 44,000 beds and $3.2 billion in revenues.

§ HCR Manor Care (Toledo, Ohio). A merger between two industry giants formed a new chain with 47,000 beds and revenues of $2.2 billion. Chairman Stewart Bainum Jr. immediately promised “future acquisitions, at the lowest cost of capital in the industry.”

§ Mariner Post-Acute Network (Atlanta, Georgia). Another member of the billion-dollar club, formed by the merger of Mariner Health Group and Paragon Health Network. Dogged by allegations of racketeering at a former nursing home in Tampa, the chain controls 48,100 beds and $2.7 billion in revenues.

§ Genesis Health Ventures (Kennett Square, Pennsylvania). The company bought a pharmaceutical chain and sponsored a real estate investment trust for some of its 37,700 beds, boosting revenues to $1.4 billion.

Source: All figures are from company officials; revenues are for the latest available twelve-month period.