Don’t Believe Nursing Home Industry Propaganda: Providers Are Doing Fine Financially

Mark Parkinson’s “Year-of-COVID” Strategy is Clear:  Make Nursing Home Corporations the Victims of the Pandemic Rather than the Negligent Providers they Have Been.

Mark Parkinson, former governor of Kansas, is the CEO of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), which is the well-funded and powerful nursing home industry lobby. I have heard Parkinson interviewed several times on CNN and have seen his comments in various publications during the past year.  His job is to turn derelict nursing home corporations into victims.  In an interview with Skilled Nursing News a couple of days ago he bemoaned the hardship placed on nursing homes by the pandemic.  He relied on a drop in capacity from 80% to 75% but provided no financial evidence how that affected financial performance given the high rate of reimbursement for COVID patients and a plethora of subsidies from federal and state agencies.

No one should fall for the former Kansas governor’s propaganda.  If he were interested in scientific, objective data to justify the victimhood he claims for his corporate members, he would support our demands for transparency.

We know that the big publicly listed corporations have been reporting adequate to robust earnings over the past year.  However, most nursing home corporations are closely held and operate behind a veil of secrecy.  They incessantly employ a false narrative claiming that net earnings are so thin that the current system – much of which entails indecent, and inhumane care – is the best they can do given the amount of reimbursement they are receiving from Medicaid and Medicare.

Because of the passivity of legislators, the public, and advocates in the face of this scurrilous misinformation (propaganda), lobbyists can get away with appearing in front of legislative committees and claim that net earnings are so low that they can’t properly staff facilities or create environments providing decent care.  There is no demand that they open their books and show us the money trail.  

We know that funds flow into facilities from Medicare, Medicaid, and private pay reimbursements.  It flows out through an opaque network of LLCs – generally all owned by the same investors, e.g., private equity firms, real estate investment trusts, family trusts, family offices and assorted other financial entities.  If Parkinson would like for us to accord him any credibility, then he needs to show us the lease, consulting, management, and other contractual arrangements the LLCs have with one another.  

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