Dumping and Falsifying
Prosecutors in California recently brought suit against Brookdale Senior Living, Inc., the largest senior living facility operator in the United States. Brookdale gave false information to inflate their quality ratings according to California attorney general Xavier Becerra. The lawsuit against Brookdale Senior Living claims that the operator falsified staffing records in order to inflate star ratings at skilled nursing facilities. Tennessee-based Brookdale Senior Living, Inc. (Brookdale) is the nation’s largest senior living operator. Many nursing homes in the U.S. illegally discharged residents to free up beds for more lucrative patients.
The lawsuit claims that Brookdale ignored laws that protect patients’ safety and gave false information to CMS. This false information awarded higher “star ratings” to undeserving facilities to entice consumers. By lying to CMS, Brookdale fraudulently increased its star rating in several categories to attract prospective patients and their families.
Attorney General Becerra said:
“We are holding Brookdale accountable for artificially increasing its profits by cutting corners when transferring or discharging its patients. It lured individuals to its facilities through false promises about providing the highest quality care. Choosing a skilled nursing facility is no simple task. Seniors, people with disabilities and their families rely heavily on accurate data to make that decision. Californians have been directly impacted by Brookdale’s behavior. We will ensure that they face consequences for violating the public’s trust.”
The false information above is related to staffing the facilities with enough competent caregivers. Separately, the AARP Foundation is leading two lawsuits against Brookdale’s assisted-living-facility operations in Florida and North Carolina. The lawsuits claim Brookdale operated a “system of chronically understaffed assisted living facilities that routinely and as a matter of practice fail to provide sufficient staffing.” The facilities fell short on the staffing and care standards reported in marketing materials to consumers.
Until 2018, nursing homes self-reported staffing hours. This was full of fraud and unreliable data. CMS switched to a payroll-based system that should be harder to falsify. It is not that reliable either. Becerra now heads the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). He is in a position to make real changes to the industry.
Brookdale Senior Living agreed to sell its majority stake in Brookdale Health Care Services (BHS) to HCA Healthcare. The purchase price is $400 million. The chain will maintain a 20% equity interest in BHS. Brookdale joins HCA’s network of care through the new venture.
Brookdale said the transaction follows its July 2020 lease renegotiation with real estate investment trust Ventas and the January 2020 sale of its entry fee continuing care retirement community venture interest to Healthpeak Properties.