SEIU, others want health care takeover scrutinized

10/10/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Today in South Florida, a coalition of health care workers, seniors and politicians announced a plan to fight for heightened scrutiny of the takeover of health care provider Manor Care by the global buyout giant the Carlyle Group.

Carlyle is one of the biggest private-equity firms in the world, with $76-billion under management. But much of this $6.3-billion acquisition is debt – an alarming concern for health care advocates who say firms like Carlyle have cut costs, increased profits and quickly resold facilities for large gains.

Monica Russo is president of SEIU Healthcare Florida.

Last month the New York Times ran a long expose detailing how residents at nursing homes that have been purchased by Carlyle and Warburg Pincus, another private equity firm, generally end up worse off than under previous owners.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, residents on average in such homes report more depression, loss of mobility and loss of ability to dress and bathe themselves.

That New York Times story began with a description of the Habana Health Care Center in West Tampa. It mentioned that services there radically deteriorated after a big private investment firm purchased the center in 2002. And over three years, 15 people died at Habana from what their families contend was negligent care.

Manor Care runs 29 nursing homes in Florida with 3,738 resident beds.

The SEIU has created a website to check on the Carlyle Group. It’s called CarlyleFixManorCareNow.

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