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Coronavirus patients could be cash cows for nursing homes
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2020
Posted: February 8th, 2021
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-03/coronavi...

The nursing home industry has been devastated by the coronavirus, with outbreaks killing thousands of elderly residents. But the health crisis presents operators with a potential financial upside. Patients with COVID-19 could be worth more than four times what homes are able to charge for long-term residents with relatively mild health issues. Some patient advocates and industry experts fear the premium pay available for coronavirus patients — and a simultaneous easing of regulations around transfers — could tempt some home operators to move out low-paying residents to bring in more lucrative COVID-19 patients, despite the obvious health risks to residents and staff. “There are probably some unscrupulous operators who would jump at this,” said David Grabowski, a professor of healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School. A new Medicare reimbursement system that went into effect last fall pays nursing homes substantially more for new patients — including those released from a hospital — particularly for the first few weeks. Under those guidelines, COVID-19 patients can bring in upward of $800 per day. By contrast, facilities collect as little as $200 per day for long-term patients with dementia. Nursing homes have always had a financial incentive to attract the short-term patients ... Grabowski said. But the health risks for existing residents and staff are so high with COVID-19, Grabowski said, “I’d be a little suspicious of a low-quality nursing home that’s jumping to the head of the line for this.”

Note: Another excellent article presents more important questions on how this might skew death statistics for the coronavirus. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.


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