The federal government and five of the largest nursing home operators are being targeted by a House panel in a newly launched investigation into the handling of the coronavirus crisis.
The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis announced the launch of its inquiry Tuesday. It said it sent letters to Genesis HealthCare, Life Care Centers of America, Ensign Group, SavaSeniorCare and Consulate Health Care requesting various information in regard to its response to COVID-19.
The letters call on the companies to provide information about their ownership and organizational structures, as well as detailed lists of long-term care facilities they own and operate. The lawmakers also want to know resident demographic information, confirmed or suspected cases at facilities, supply information about personal protective equipment, complaint information, compensation for executives, and revenues.
The provider companies are also being asked to provide information regarding any communication with federal officials related to the pandemic, funding it received from the federal government in response to the pandemic, fee information and all of its operating protocols concerning the pandemic.
Genesis officials were still evaluating the committee’s request.
“We support efforts to better understand the virus, and how we as a nation and as a provider can improve care of our nation’s seniors. Throughout this pandemic, Genesis has been very transparent and forthcoming, providing information to patients, residents, families and the media, as well as state and federal governments,” a spokeswoman said.
A Life Care Centers for America spokeswoman told McKnight’s the company was also reviewing the notice, adding that “it will take us some time to evaluate the extent of the information being requested.”
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is also being investigated under the inquiry. The committee is seeking information regarding the agency’s enforcement of health and safety regulations during the crisis, data collection and provision of life-saving supplies.
“The Subcommittee is concerned that lax oversight by [CMS] and the federal government’s failure to provide testing supplies and personal protective equipment to nursing homes and long-term care facilities may have contributed to the spread of the coronavirus and the deaths of more than 40,000 Americans in these facilities,” Subcommittee Chairman Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) wrote.
“Despite CMS’s broad legal authority, the agency has largely deferred to states, local governments, and for-profit nursing homes to respond to the coronavirus crisis,” he added.
The committee set a June 30 deadline for both the companies and CMS to return the requested information.