Nursing home industry is scaring residents, group says

In recent weeks, Humana sparked conflict with regulators when it sent out a letter outlining its position on health reform--and according to some, scaring seniors needlessly. Now, a Medicare advocacy group claims that a large nursing home chain is employing similar tactics.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy contends that Genesis Healthcare, a chain of 200 skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities cutting across 13 states, has been lobbying residents against HR 3200, the reform bill dubbed "America's Affordable Health Choices Act." The Center is also fighting to stop Medicare Advantage plans from lobbying enrollees on health reform issues.

The Center's leaders say that Genesis vice president Laurence Lane told some of the chain's residents that the bill would cut nursing home payments by $2 billion, and that such cuts would directly impact care quality and staffing levels. Lane, for his part, argues that the shifts in financing mandated by the bill would cut payments for skilled nursing, skilled home care and hospice by almost 16 percent. He's urged seniors in various facilities run by Genesis to write letters and make calls opposing the bill.

Right now there's no word as to whether lobbying by Genesis will get the same hostile response as similar lobbying letters sent out by Humana. But my guess is that HHS won't be especially pleased.

To learn more about this controversy:
- read this HealthLeaders Media piece

Related Articles:
CMS investigates Humana letter to beneficiaries on health reform
Humana hungry to buy provider-owned health plans
Humana Q2 profits rise