The nursing home industry is facing a new wave of congressional scrutiny. In response, they have called upon some heavy hitting lobbyists to combat proposed reforms. Among these was The Carlyle Group, a political equity form firm that recently purchased Manor Care, the nation’s largest nursing home chain, for $6.3 billion.
“In spite of existing oversight mechanisms, we continue to see examples of horrific treatment of nursing home residents,” testified Lewis Morris, general counsel for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General.
Legislation introduced by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl, the Democratic chairman of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging, could significantly increase oversight and enforcement in an industry that is consistently plagued with ethical and quality of life issues.
Some of the items the nursing care lobby is fighting? – Full disclosure of nursing home ownership, and the establishment of outside monitors to review patient care. The new regulations propose to increase fines to as high as $100,000 if a patient is harmed or dies due to poor care.
Bruce Yarwood, the head of the American Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes, criticized the legislation for “enhancing a ‘gotcha’ mentality and system.”
It is no secret to anyone, including myself, who has seen an older loved one sent to a nursing home facility, that the quality-of-life spectrum in the nursing home industry is quite broad indeed, running the gambit from very poor to excellent levels of care. This proposed legislation looks to hold accountable those firms, that simply warehouse the elderly while draining their life savings. In many siuations, these people are subject to mal-nutrition, filthy conditions, bed-sores, lack of activity, lack of much needed sanitary care, etc. Hopefully, this proposed legislation will begin to turn this tide of for-profit suffering at the hands of corporate ownership.
Read the full article on Politico here…