Brius owner Shlomo Rechnitz made headlines in October for implying that Donald Trump’s election was divine providence.
It turns out that Rechnitz and other skilled nursing tycoons stand to benefit handsomely from the Trump presidency. At the request of lobbyists for the nursing home industry, the Trump administration last month issued new guidelines discouraging regulators from levying fines in some situations, even when they have resulted in a resident’s death.
The guidelines will also probably result in lower fines for many facilities, according to a report in Kaiser Health News.
The article reported that since 2013, nearly 6,500 nursing homes — 4 of every 10 — have been cited at least once for a serious violation. Medicare has fined two-thirds of those homes. Common citations include failing to protect residents from avoidable accidents, neglect, mistreatment and bedsores.
While the nursing home industry argued that the enforcement was forcing them to spend more money on red tape, patient care advocates warned that Trump’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was making it easier for nursing homes to get away with insufficient care.
“They’ve pretty much emasculated enforcement, which was already weak,” said Toby Edelman, a senior attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy told Kaiser Health News.
Brius, the largest nursing home operator in California, is no stranger to enforcement actions by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Brius operates one of every eight nursing homes across the state, but, as of last year, it accounted for half of all homes shuttered by the regulatory agency since 2010 due to patient-care and other violations.
Rechnitz, who recently testified that he owns several hundred million dollars in real estate, appears to be an unabashed Trump supporter. In an October interview, he marveled at how the former reality television won the White House while alienating so many people.