Every 24 hours I receive links to news articles posted on the Internet pertaining to the nursing home industry. I have an average of 40 news articles to shift trough every day. That makes for a lot of reading and lots of tough decisions about what I should post about on this blog. Additionally, your e-mail messages provide me with more excellent topics to write about. At any given time I probably have at least two dozen news articles or topics to write about. If there were only enough hours in the day to devote to this blog and attend to the other things that demand my attention!
Easily the number one topic in the news these past few months – which is the time of the year that various state’s legislatures have been in session – has to do with the near hysterical responses of the nursing home industry about proposed cuts to state Medicaid funding. Nursing homes happen to be the largest recipients of Medicaid funds, so it is understandable that the industry would have strong emotions when it comes to their income stream being threatened. Strong emotions I can understand. But the near hysteria that has been coming from industry spokespersons is, at best, over the top and should be taken with a huge grain of salt.
If you’ve spent any serious amount of time reading this blog, then you know my position is that FOR-profit nursing homes have a clear history of MISspending their income (e.g., spending it on things OTHER than resident care), while NON-profit nursing homes not only spend their money where it truly belongs (e.g., spending it on nothing but those things that directly impact resident care).
So when the paid mouthpieces of the for-profit nursing homes get hysterical about proposed Medicaid spending cuts, I gotta’ ask what is their response REALLY all about? Their hysteria is cleraly influenced by….
- For-profit CEOs who might have to take a cut in pay (many make is excess of $1 Million per year, while nurse’s aides barely make above minimum wage). Maybe their Rolls Royce will be replaced by a BMW? What, no more heated indoor swimming pools in their multi-million dollar homes?
- Stockholders, since cuts to Medicaid reimbursement will likely reduce the growth of of profits and therefore mean smaller dividend checks.
- Nursing home administrators, who might have to take a pay cut? I certainly don’t feel sorry for them since the average base salary for administrators of for-profit nursing homes is believed to be in excess of $80,000. Will they have to trade-in their BMW for a Chevy or Ford?
- Corrupt politicians, since the for-profit nursing home industry might have to reduce the money it spends on buying their votes.
Less money to buy luxury homes built on multi-acres of land, smaller stock dividend checks and fewer dollars to influence legislators…maybe even less income to spend buying up more nursing homes. Make no mistake: these are the things that are REALLY “at risk” if Medicaid reimbursement is decreased. Moreover, these things are NOT in any way, shape or form related to providing nursing home resident care! Instead they are hallmarks of a greedy, whoring industry that has a clear track record of wasting your tax money – our tax money – to feed its out-of-control appetite.
Some of the hysterical remarks from the for-profit nursing home industry involve threaten to reduce staffing levels to compensate for reduced Medicaid reimbursement. The TRUTH is that for-profit nursing homes are staffed at a LOWER level than comparable non-profit facilities. So don’t believe the lie that the nursing home staffing levels have to be reduced. The only thing that should be “reduced” is the degree of greed that the industry has been getting away with for the past 20 years!
Kudos to Ohio Goveror John Kasich! During his recent State of the State speech he used very blunt language to confront the greedy nursing home industry (and this from a Republican!).
Kaisch pledged to rein in the powerful nursing home industry, whose lobbyists and campaign contributions have helped it preserve a big piece of his state’s Medicaid budget. “If your mom and dad want to stay home instead of going to a nursing home, we should help make that happen,” he said. “Taxpayers will save a bundle of money. This has been discussed for decades. It’s time to get this done.”
Amen, Governor Kaisch!