Leading Age is Teaming Up with the Nursing Home Industry to Put One Over on U.S. Taxpayers

In case you haven’t heard of the “Care for Our Seniors Act”, you need to know that Leading Age, which holds itself out as an advocacy organization for nursing home patients, is teaming up with the American Health Care Association/National Center on Assisted living – the industry lobbying organization – to pass this proposed legislation. Despite a couple of good things in the bill, e.g. 24 hour presence of RN in a facility, minimal stockpile of PPE, and some other minor requirements, the proposed legislation is a sham: an industry maneuver to move past the terrible COVID-19 tragedy and squeeze more funding out of Medicaid.

Essentially, Leading Age is helping sweep the industry’s responsibility for the death of 300,000 nursing home patients under the rug. In addition to helping irresponsible providers escape accountability, LA & AHCA/NCAL are pushing for more taxpayer spending on long-term care without any of the needed financial transparency – needed by taxpayers if they are to find out how their money is being spent and how much is being drained out for excessive enhancement of shareholder value.

None of the real advocates I know would be opposed to spending what it takes to make the long-term care system humane and conducive to the well-being of patients. The Care for Our Seniors Act is a slight tweak at best. More likely, it will result in more shortened lives because it will not change the overall quality of care in America’s nursing homes.

Mark Parkinson, CEO of AHCA/NCAL is pushing the legislation by making incessant claims that the industry is in dire financial straits. That is false. His press releases include frames such as heroic and valiant efforts of providers in the face of financial hardship. Parkinson has been claiming that industry revenue will decline by $95 billion over two 2020 and 2021. He has presented no evidence to support that claim, because there is none. The truth is this: long-term care, as an industry, is so heavily subsidized by federal and state governments that it took no real hit in 2020. Providers have landed on their feet as the COVID pandemic is brought under control and will move ahead and continue to drain an excess amount of funds out of care into the pockets of investors.

It is important for advocates to force the long-term care industry to reveal its financial information. We can see the financial statements of publicly listed companies. A review of major public corporations in the long-term care industry reveals something far different than what Parkinson is putting out. The table below is just the beginning of our examination of annual 10-K reports submitted to the SEC.


Dave Kingsley