Irresponsible Hospital and Nursing Home Corporations Value Shareholders Over Medical Care
Nursing home corporations and executives have pocketed a fabulous amount of wealth throughout the history of publicly funded long-term and skilled nursing care. Their business model includes enhanced cash flow through suppression of labor costs. Therefore, their labor relations have been based on fast food wages, poor working conditions, and high turnover.
Rather than invest in a highly professional, stable, competent workforce, the industry has pervasively extracted excessive cash for the purpose of protecting and enhancing shareholder value. Unfortunately, the public is unaware of the lucrative trade in real estate and sophisticated leveraging of tax codes that add to the wealth of high high-net worth individuals and corporations owning and operating nursing home chains. In addition, rewarded through generous reimbursement from Medicaid and Medicare, most corporations paid high dividends and high executive compensation rather than invest in their employees.
Acute care workers have been poorly treated also. Owners of hospitals have put their nursing staffs in untenable and abusive working conditions due to their paramount concern with shareholders over ethical medical care. A colleague forwarded this video to me today – it is worth watching: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/19/opinion/covid-nurse-burnout-understaffing.html?smid=em-share.
The Kansas Legislature is Rushing to Lower Professional Standards in Nursing Home Employment to Accommodate an Industry that Has Failed to Develop a Professional, Stable Workforce
Kansas House Bill 2477 has sailed through the House without any significant opposition today. This bill allows operators to skirt training, licensing, and competency standards that some legislators and citizens won through years of hard fighting.
The current Kansas advocacy community has failed to educate legislators, the public, and the press on the history of industry neglect of their workers while extracting a massive amount of wealth for investors. There is no excuse for the irresponsibility demonstrated by well-reimbursed nursing home corporations, but they are not being held accountable and it appears that there is no demand that they be held accountable.
Despite failing their patients and employees, the nursing home industry has had two banner years financially during the COVID pandemic. Now they will be rewarded again with hardly a murmur from any quarter we should be able to rely on for speaking truth to power.