White House ready to crack down on nursing homes, cites USA TODAY report

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  • White House officials said a recent USA TODAY nursing home investigation shows reforms are needed
  • Regulators could impose minimum staffing requirements and stiffer penalties for violations
  • Industry groups fear the mandates don’t come with enough funding

Health policy advisers to President Joe Biden cited a USA TODAY investigation into nursing home care during the pandemic as evidence of a troubled industry urgently in need of reform to crack down on poor performers and profiteering.

The report, released last week, showed that residents at a single Midwest chain with 115 campuses died of COVID-19 last winter at twice the national average for nursing homes, based on figures facilities must file weekly with the federal government. Presented with USA TODAY’s findings, the company said it overreported hundreds of deaths during the surge.

Trilogy is a for-profit company backed by a real estate investment trust, a health care investment strategy until now operating largely under the radar of federal nursing home regulators. The White House hopes to shed light on the various ways Wall Street profits from taxpayer-funded health care for the elderly and people with disabilities. 

Investigation:This nursing home chain stood out for nationally high death rates as pandemic peaked

Greater financial transparency is part of a sweeping set of proposals Biden unveiled as part of the State of the Union speech March 1. He also called for increased reporting on for-profit nursing home ownership, including REITs and private equity; minimum staffing standards; a database to track back operators across state lines; and stiffer violation penalties.

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