Profits over Patients: The Advocate takes a deep dive into Louisiana's powerful nursing home industry, which donates millions of dollars to elected officials across the state. As a result, nursing homes, ranked last in the nation in quality, have seen their budgets soar in a punishing financial climate where everyone from higher education to hospitals has seen dramatic reductions. Meanwhile, home-and community-based services, a less expensive alternative to nursing homes which are preferred by the elderly, are floundering for lack of state support. And a reform plan that would boost home- and community-based services, while generating more than $130 million for the state annually, has been snubbed, in part because of pressure from nursing home leaders who oppose it.
The past 10 months have ticked away at a torturously slow pace for Kenny Johnson, who prayed every day he’d get the call telling him it was time to leave the nursing home.
A team of government experts and industry stakeholders spent more than two years painstakingly crafting a plan that would have reduced Louisiana’s expensive and unpopular reliance on nursing homes to house the state’s most helpless residents.
Story 3: How lawmakers, politicians voted to enrich Louisiana nursing homes, instead of saving money
Year after year, Louisiana lawmakers gather in Baton Rouge and grouse about the unpalatable choices they face: Cut state services, raise taxes or do some of both.
The ongoing debate about government’s role in health care involves a compelling reality – na…