Providers in Kentucky may now have an additional ally within the state’s agency that oversees nursing home inspections, while others are extremely cautious about the move. 

Gov. Andy Beshear (D) named Signature Healthcare executive Adam Mather as the inspector general at the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, according to a local news report. Mather reportedly started in his new role in late December. 

The state agency oversees its Medicaid program and also conducts nursing home inspections for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Mather previously served as Signature’s regional vice president of operations before taking on the new role. 

The Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities has welcomed the move, which has faced harsh criticism by the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

“Mr. Mather is a nurse. He’s had some management experience with his career. So he’s obviously qualified for the job,” Betsy Johnson, president of the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities, said. 

The Center for Medicare Advocacy, by contrast, believes there is a potential conflict of interest.

It was “troubling that someone from the industry now gets to oversee the industry,” Toby Edelman, senior policy attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy, told the news organization.

“But generally, I think our regulators should be independent of the industries they regulate and not come from within their ranks. There should not be this revolving door between them, with people moving back and forth,” he added.

The report also noted that Signature has made at least $20,500 in donations to Beshear and state lawmakers since 2015. 

Signature Healthcare did not return McKnights’ request for comment by production deadline.