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A harsh spotlight on a prominent nursing home chain


If a worldwide pandemic had any tangible benefits, it would be the revelation of the state of nursing home care. COVID-19 served as a magnifying glass that revealed the shortcomings that resulted in serious and preventable illnesses and deaths in California and nationwide.

A recent USA Today report may not only shed light but also add fuel to what has become a raging inferno of these types of care facility problems.

Shocking revelations

The deeper dive into more sophisticated analysis focused on October 2020 to February 2021, using surveillance data and other statistics from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Trilogy Health Services stood out with the highest death rates out of all large nursing home chains. Out of the approximately 71,000 nursing home residents who lost their lives, Trilogy had 7.0 deaths per 1,000, more than double the national average of 3.3 deaths per thousand.

The prominent chain claims errors in fatality reports are caused by COVID-19, specifically double counting. Trilogy CEO Leigh Ann Barney claimed that statistics are “rife with error and confusion,” citing ever-changing guidance from health officials and regulators and varying requirements by the states.

Part of the study took a look at poor care and significant reductions in staff since American Health Care REIT took over responsibility for Trilogy. Yet as the coronavirus death toll grew, so did REIT’s stock. Last year, Trilogy brought in more than $100 million in net operating income.

When nursing home owners put profits over people, particularly in the face of a pandemic, residents are accidentally or deliberately put in harm’s way. The consequences often involve the preventable death of a beloved family member.