National Healthcare Corp. claims to be one of the older publicly listed nursing home companies. It owns and operates 77 nursing homes, 6 independent living centres, 16 assisted living facilities and also provides 33 home health programs as well as a number of other activities. It is not bankrupt and it is even making a profit.
It has been accused of understaffing and poor care. A group of residents have gone to court. There are 108 court actions against its nursing homes and its insurers have paid out 25.8 million, much of it in Florida.
Because of the costs of litigation NHC's insurers terminated their cover. Unable to get another insurer NHC sold its Florida homes to a past vice president in a deal, which left the homes with so little resources that there would be little point in a resident who had been seriously injured suing for damages.
The Palm Beach Post (April 24, 2001) reports that there is a loophole in the law and claims that NHC is exploiting it. I quote
If the new owner can prove it is not related to the previous owner, the nursing home is eligible for an automatic increase in its Medicaid reimbursement rate, drawing down more state and federal money to pay for the poorest residents, whose care the industry claims the state has chronically underfunded.
NHC has gone to some lengths in order to ensure that the new owner is not "related".
In an interesting twist NHC claimed to be providing more nursing time per patient than most competitors and to be paying nurses more. Other chains complain that they can't pay more and remain viable. This is difficult to reconcile with the complaints about its homes and its profit.
It was however being deceptive. A whistle blower had done something about its practices and probably kept records. The US government joined his action and only 3 months after NHC's claims to supplying more nursing time NHC settled a US $27 million fraud action. It had been fiddling the books, charging Medicare for nursing services which were never provided.
In analysing NHC in greater depth I have once again taken extracts from published material and allowed them to tell the story. I have simply written a short introduction and a few comments to give perspective and explain the context of some extracts.
The extracts on these pages are from copyright material. They are reproduced here for educational purposes and to stimulate public debate about the provision of health care. I consider this to be "fair use" and in the public interest. They should not be reproduced for commercial purposes.
Disclaimer: - The material in these pages is selective and not all-inclusive. The extracts do not necessarily reflect the full perspective of the original. Corporate denials and explanations have not been included. No claim is made that all of the matters referred to are true. The intention is to give the flavour of the material and an idea of the extent of the allegations.
Because of the volume I have divided them into rough subject areas in separate web pages.
CLICK HERE to examine NHC References