What the Pandemic Revealed About This Country’s Nursing Home Owners – New Jersey
Published 5.13.21, last edit 5:32pm
The leap of faith necessary to contemplate the astronomical profit on the trafficked lives of the elderly in this country requires a simple review of the industry’s finances. How very easy it is to defraud Medicare, Medicaid and the healthcare insurance industry. It is even easier for those charged with accountability to look the other way.
Few will put it all together lest they have to confront the brutality that has been deemed acceptable by any humane standards. We, here, lose sleep over it all. There is no accountability in the nursing home industry. In fact, when we were all looking the other way, New York’s Governor Cuomo installed the Granny Killer Immunity Provisions, many states following suit. Governor Cuomo’s campaign was funded, in pertinent part, by nursing home owners, their attorneys, the healthcare lobby, the pharma lobby, the insurance industry, all a collective of accomplices in removing the light and thus increasing profits.
A conscience… huh? What is that?
Those who are willing to speak out are punished for their efforts. Attorneys have been disbarred for whistleblowing, called something else, as they attempt to uncover the inhumanity. Newspaper journalists have been and continue to be admonished or sued for shedding light on the hardcore truths about the industry. Public media wars have been waged on politicians trying to right an entirely skewed collective moral compass. It is an “open secret” in politics, we are told.
Ownership structures have been repeatedly scrambled to protect the wealthy. Money is regularly exchanged under cover of darkness. Programs have been defunded to avoid establishing a system of accountability. Nurses get sued for walking away. Underpaid healthcare workers demand better wages and many are denied, lest there be a reduction of Net Profits.
At its fundamental atomic level, the nursing home industry is nothing more or less than the exchange of money for human life. Full stop.
The criminal nature of the industry, at least under our 45, ran from the top down. We believe everyone in between was more than happy to look the other way, or offer a “distribution of…. relief funding.” US President 45 offered a commuted sentence to a nursing home magnate who defrauded his victims out of millions and millions in what is referred to as “unbounded greed”. Private equity firms and their attorneys, more than happy to “say nothing and hear nothing,” are profiting and profiteering. And the cycle continues.
There is a sheer and inexplicable cognitive dissonance of those who do not question this industry, its finances, its treatment of the elderly. For years we, along with our collective and small group of journalists, bloggers and activists have tried to scatter the puzzle pieces for anyone who might be willing to put them together.
The savagery coupled with the profit is really not rocket science to figure out.
It took a pandemic to show just how blurred the lines of that which is deemed acceptable in a humane society really are. The black and white of right and wrong were crossed a very long time ago. Perhaps a New Jersey law is a step in the right direction. Likely not. Until owners who have records of abusing the system are put permanently out of commission, no law will draw an impassable line. It is all just a distraction.
Pandemic revealed N.J. does not know who owns for-profit nursing homes. New law would change that.
Nursing home operators must reveal more information about their finances and their ownership and also pass a review evaluating their track record on safety and quality before state regulators will allow properties to be sold, under a new law Gov. Phil Murphy signed late Wednesday.
he legislation emerged from a series of recommendations the healthcare consultant Manatt Health made a year ago to improve how nursing homes operate, after the coronavirus killed 5,400 long-term care residents within two months. The death toll is at about 8,000 today.
Manatt concluded the industry was unprepared for the pandemic, in part because one-third of all facilities had been cited for infection control violations previously and staffing shortages were endemic.
The consultant also took issue with the Health Department for not aggressively monitoring the 370 nursing homes in the state, 74% of which are owned by for-profit companies that change hands often. Manatt recommended the state adopt a stricter system of reviewing operators’ finances before they are permitted to buy new facilities.
The law, A4477, requires nursing home operators to report the names, addresses and the organizational chart for the companies who intend to buy a facility, any lease or management agreements, a list of all facilities the buyer has owned in the last five years and financial audits from the last three years. The health department will use the information to identify facilities which may be in financial distress, according to the law. Applications for ownership transfers must be posted on the DOH’s website.NJ.com, to continue reading click here.