Lawmakers scrutinize profits, pay at top for-profit nursing homes

Five lawmakers are demanding information about corporate spending from three of the country's largest public, for-profit nursing homes after the operators said they cannot afford to meet the new minimum staffing threshold, The Hill reported May 6.

The letter was sent to National Healthcare Corp, the Ensign Group and Brookdale Senior Living.

The letter, signed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal and Bernie Sanders and Reps. Lloyd Doggett and Jan Schakowsky, said the lawmakers intend to compare payouts to executives and shareholders with the salaries of nurses and nursing aides. The legislators also asked for companies' average pay and tenure for their registered nurses and nurse aides.

"These two competing claims do not add up," the lawmakers wrote. The nursing home owners have paid out a combined $650 million in stock buybacks, dividend payments and other financial rewards to top executives since 2018, the report said. 

The American Health Care Association, which represents for-profit nursing homes, told the Hill, "We support transparency, but this is yet another political distraction from the real challenges facing the sector: a growing caregiver shortage and chronic government underfunding. These are the realities impacting the vast majority of nursing homes today, and they're reasons why we will continue to defend nursing homes and seniors from the negative impacts of an unfunded, unrealistic staffing mandate."

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