AARP’s Defense of the Nursing Home Industry is Disgraceful


Dave Kingsley

The AARP is defending the indefensible.

Over 100,000 people in the care of nursing home corporations have succumbed to the COVID virus. Perhaps 150,000 have died of COVID in nursing homes – we don’t really know. Furthermore, we don’t know how many patients and employees who recovered from the disease will have life-long medical problems. This is one of the largest medical tragedies in U.S. history. Instead of demanding an investigation into the underlying management failure resulting in illnesses and death in long-term care facilities, the AARP is carrying water for the industry.

The AARP’s report on the “crisis” – written by a business writer – is better propaganda than real estate, finance, and nursing home lobbyists could hope for. Instead of demanding to know how the COVID tragedy could have happened, AARP commissioned Harris Meyer, a business journalist, to write a report regarding the nursing home industry’s performance in the COVID pandemic.  The report, “Nursing Homes’ Flawed Business Model Worsens COVIC Crisis” was posted on the AARP website (

The AARP & Harris Meyer do not Understand the Nursing Home Industry

Meyer claims that the nursing home business is beset with a “flawed business model,” which in his view really isn’t the industry’s fault. As an explanation of the long-term care business, he provides nothing more than gibberish. I addressed some of the finance nonsense in Meyer’s report in a recent post (December 27th). He obviously doesn’t understand the industry and most of his claims in the article are not worth a comment. For instance, he claims that nursing homes “had an operating profit margin of negative 3 percent on patients paid for by Medicaid and other non-Medicare sources.”

Meyer doesn’t say where he found that information. Most nursing homes corporations are privately held and keep their financials close to the vest. Furthermore, he doesn’t indicate if he is referring to a mean or a median. Without a standard deviation and more information about the distribution of data on which a mean is based, an arithmetic average is meaningless. Without data by quartiles and a box plot to demonstrate distribution of data across each quartile, a median is nonsensical.

The Long-term Care Industry Devalues Human Life

There is so much about AARP’s whitewash that could be discussed, but suffice it to say that it is an embarrassment and should be grounds for an apology to the elderly and disabled people of America. The death and suffering of so many long-term care patients is simply due to the devaluation of the lives of disabled and elderly Americans in a system returning hefty value to investors at the expense of humane medical care.

9 thoughts on “AARP’s Defense of the Nursing Home Industry is Disgraceful

  1. The loss of property by those who struggled to become property owners, also adds to the nursing home population. What does AARP do if anything to help elders to protect their assets and remain in their homes?

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