This blog is taken from an extensive case study published recently by ProPublica.
By examining the history of an assisted living facility in McMinnville, Oregon—a small town roughly halfway between Portland and Salem— this blog series will provide an overview into the problems that come with the increasingly conglomerated chain of national elderly healthcare providers.
An assisted living facility in McMinnville, Oregon has changed ownership several times in the past few years. Despite the constant reshuffling, the facility has seen a consistently disturbing level of serious problems.
In the past few years, two former employees have been arrested and charged for sex crimes while working at the facility; at least one resident suffered a case of near-fatal neglect; and residents of the facility have repeatedly attacked each other.
The first company to buy the facility, Sunwest Management, collapsed under $2 billion dollars of debt, which federal prosecutors labeled as a Ponzi scheme and filed federal criminal fraud charges.
The second change in ownership was a three-way ownership between Blackstone, a private equity firm, Emeritus Senior Living, the nation’s largest assisted living corporation, and a real estate entity. Emeritus assumed operation over the facility, where it became Emeritus at Osprey Court.
In 2012, the joint-owners sold the facility to a real estate investment trust. The trust immediately leased the facility back to Emeritus. Recently and in light of close scrutiny from Oregon regulators, Emeritus chose to subcontract facility operations to another independent firm.
This is not a unique occurrence for many nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country. There is a growing national trend wherein large corporate nursing home chains are constantly buying and selling regional facilities.
Supporters of the national conglomeration of nursing facilities claim that it provides a more professional and experienced workforce, offers cheaper prices for residents and their families, and the financial strength to reinvest in improvements.
But regulatory case files in all 50 states indicate a different picture. Elderly advocates, government regulators, and industry experts all point to a climate where profits are put above its clients. These national firms are under increasing pressure from their shareholders and investors to reduce expenditures. This comes at the expense of providing adequate employee training and facility understaffing and maintenance, for example.
Nursing facilities like the one in McMinnville are merely single assets in massive portfolios. Rather than existing to solely care for its patients and their families, individual facilities owned by much larger corporations seem to be profit driven above all else.
Choosing profit as a priority over patient care puts resident safety at risk. We see the adverse consequences of this all too often.
The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.