A bill requiring for-profit nursing homes that receive state funding to report their profits and losses from related businesses won legislative approval early Tuesday – a win for the union representing nursing home workers, which had the Malloy administration’s backing.
The state Senate voted 24 to 11 to approve the bill, which also empowers a Nursing Home Financial Advisory Committee to examine quality of care, staffing levels and the financial solvency of nursing homes. The bill passed the House last week.
The legislation requires nursing homes to disclose the financial status of any “related party” businesses that contract with the homes – such as associated companies that own the facility properties, or spinoff businesses that provide rehabilitation or management services.
The original proposal required that the nursing homes report profits and losses for any related businesses that receive more than $10,000 a year, but that dollar amount was upped to $50,000 in the final proposal.
The union representing nursing home workers, New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199, had pushed the bill as a way to increase transparency in an industry marked by bankruptcies, takeovers and several high-profile scandals in recent years.
Union officials cited recent actions by the HealthBridge chain, which claimed employee costs forced them into financial crisis. District 1199 said the bill would provide a way to identify nursing homes in true financial distress, versus those that claim money woes, but actually have profitable affiliated businesses.
Officials of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, which represents nursing homes, called the bill intrusive, saying it serves only to help labor unions “exploit” financial information about nursing homes, to gain leverage in contract negotiations.