BOSTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren is launching an investigation into for-profit nursing homes and their response to the COVID-19 crisis.
25 Investigates has done extensive reporting on the crisis inside our long-term care facilities throughout the pandemic, which saw 8,797 deaths as of Wednesday. Now, the senator is claiming some corporations put profits over protecting their staff and vulnerable residents.
“We cannot allow corporate greed to determine whether or not workers and seniors in this country live or die,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D (MA) during a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday.
Warren said CARES Act money was dedicated to helping these homes in dire need of staffing and personal protective equipment.
But, she’s now questioning how some corporate owners spent it, starting with Genesis Healthcare.
“I received information that shows that they accepted $665 million dollars in state and federal grants and loans last year, and guess what Genesis did? It gave it’s then CEO a $5.2 million dollar retention bonus just before he left the company which was and is in dire financial condition,” Warren says.
Genesis Healthcare owns some 350 facilities across the country, including 23 in Massachusetts. 25 Investigates examined state data and found roughly 400 deaths at Genesis-owned nursing homes in the Bay State. 72 of them were at the Courtyard Nursing Care Center in Medford.
Adelina Ramos, a certified nursing assistant at a Genesis-owned nursing home in Greeneville, Rhode Island testified that staffing levels reached a breaking point last spring.
“At one point I was caring for 26 critically ill residents with only the help of one other CNA, a nurse and a housekeeper. My residents couldn’t eat or drink without help. They couldn’t move or get out of bed by themselves. They all required oxygen changes every 15 minutes. And because they had Alzheimer’s, sometimes they would get very scared or angry,” Ramos said.
25 Investigates contacted Genesis Healthcare about these claims.
A spokesperson said in part; “All CARES Act funds received by Genesis will be allocated to expenses and lost revenue related to the coronavirus in accordance with the dictates of the law, and such expenses cannot and will not include executive compensation costs.”
“And the next time there’s a pandemic, seniors shouldn’t be stuck in subpar institutions run by CEOs and vulture firms in order to make a quick buck,” Warren said.
Genesis Healthcare told 25 Investigates it never limited or reduced spending on measures to protect residents, patients, and staff in order to fund executive compensation.
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