Dan blogged this week about the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care. He spoke about the group, and its financial goals.
Below is a link to an editorial from the Palm Beach Post about the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care. They have been very vocal about Medicare payments to nursing homes.
“In newspaper and television ads targeting U.S. Reps. Ron Klein, D-Delray Beach, and Tim Mahoney, D-Palm Beach Gardens, the alliance points out that Congress doesn’t have to cut Medicare spending for the elderly to help uninsured children receive subsidized health insurance through the SCHIP program. Congress can do both.
No matter how powerful an advocate, that’s a strange position for a group that not so long ago had then-lobbyist Haley Barbour as its chief spokesman. Mr. Barbour, now the governor of Mississippi, is a champion of Republican tax cutting. The alliance’s position on the children’s health-insurance bill that Congress passed, however, makes the group seem more like the “tax-and-spend” Democrats Mr. Barbour used to vilify as national GOP chairman.
So who is behind this champion of the elderly poor? The alliance is no industry watchdog. It is the industry. The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care is 16 of the largest chains. It gave $100,000 to Tom Delay’s political action committee that redrew districts for the Texas Legislature, a contribution that figured prominently in criminal charges against the former House speaker. When the alliance needed a lobbyist, it hired Thomas Scully, the Medicare administrator who squelched the true cost of the federal prescription drug plan.
Support for Medicare from the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care is like support for Barry Bonds from steroid makers. But just how does the alliance define “quality”?
The alliance claims to have led in adopting quality assurance programs. It boasts that stabilized Medicare spending, due partly to its powerful lobbying, has resulted in continued improvement in nursing home care. And it argues that the one-year, $700 million freeze in Medicare nursing home spending in the children’s insurance bill would cost the industry $2.7 billion over five years. Spread over the industry, said alliance President Alan Rosenbloom, that would be the equivalent of two lost staff positions per nursing home.
It’s hard to believe, but the industry’s arguments amount to a claim of poverty. At 3 percent, profit margins are too slim, Mr. Rosenbloom said, to absorb even a one-year freeze.
Tell that to patients of the nation’s largest nursing home owner, HCR Manor Care, an alliance member. Manor Care’s chief executive, Paul Ormond, received an $18 million pay package this year. Mr. Ormond is overseeing the public company’s $6.3 billion sale to the private Carlyle Group, owner of Dunkin’ Donuts, Water Pik and Hertz. If the financials are so dismal, why is Carlyle buying Manor Care?
If the sale goes through, Mr. Ormond stands to make even more. He can cash in stock options valued at between $118 million and $186 million, The Toledo (Ohio) Blade reported last month. Options for other top executives would reach $68 million. That’s a third of the proposed Medicare freeze for all nursing homes.”
Read the entire article here.