In Nursing Homes, Wall Street Has Been a Death Sentence.
Studies have found that private equity firms have contributed to the deaths of tens of thousands of nursing home residents.
After it was reported that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration lied about and concealed the data concerning nursing home Covid-19 deaths in New York State to avoid a federal investigation, the topic of how nursing homes have dealt with the pandemic has drawn national attention. Recently however, syndicated journalist and former top Bernie Sanders advisor David Sirota along with Julia Rock reported findings from a study concerning Nursing Homes and Wall Street that conveniently seems to have fallen through the cracks in many mainstream media outlets.
Analysis has now shown that between 2004 and 2016, 20,000 people died as a result of living in a nursing home owned by a private equity firm. Wall Street’s private equity firms are known to take over already existing corporations through investment or borrowing and implementing cost-cutting measures in order to turn a profit. When one considers how “cost cutting measures” in nursing homes typically mean lower staffing levels and more frequent health and safety violation citations associated with that, it seems reasonable to conclude that in regards to the care of the most vulnerable people among us, Wall Street has been a death sentence.
Considering the fact that Andrew Cuomo also drew criticism because he shielded nursing home executives from legal consequences after forcing these facilities to accept Covid-19 positive residents, this study is not only devastating, but incredibly relevant. As I’ve addressed countless times before, one of the first pieces of Bernie Sanders’ platform that drew me to his campaign was his plan for Medicare for All, and the idea that profit has no place in healthcare. While all too often we think of the immorality of profit motives when it comes to hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and health insurance companies, it’s becoming incredibly apparent that the notion of profit surrounding nursing homes should be a part of the discourse surrounding healthcare as well.
With 65% of nursing homes saying they will be forced to close within a year because of the costs related to Covid-19, one can only assume that if Wall Street swoops in to “rescue” a number of them, the problem is only going to get worse.
When someone is facing the difficult reality that their mother or father is no longer safe at home or has become too difficult for them to care for, and dealing with the prospect of having to find a nursing home, the last thing they should have to worry about is a profit motive hindering the quality of care they not only need, but deserve. Wall Street has no business in the facilities entrusted to care for the most vulnerable among us. The necessity for a facility to turn a profit should not be a concern when it comes to staffing needs to make sure that elderly people are getting the care that they need.
Considering these issues of profit have already been responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in facilities tied to Wall Street, it’s sort of incredible that this hasn’t become a bigger issue long before now. Not only does it speak to the lack of attention for America’s elderly or the problems they face, but it also happens to be incredibly revealing about the total lack of accountability for Wall Street and their detrimental grip on so many of the most intimate aspects of our lives. There isn’t much accountability from the media, and arguably even less coming from our lawmakers.