This is one of those stories that makes my stomach turn. Our Attorney General, Jack Conway, appears to be a hired shill for the nursing home industry. And who suffers? Our elderly, and they're suffering dearly in Kentucky.
Jack Conway's campaign for U.S. Senate received over $50,000 in contributions from the nursing home industry. Those are only the 2009 numbers. We have no way of knowing what the 2010 numbers are, probably tens of thousands more. The majority of those contributions were made by Kindred Healthcare executives. Kindred Healthcare owns and operates over 200 nursing homes in the United States and are known as one of the worst in the business. Kindred Healthcare are headquartered in Louisville Kentucky. In the mid 1980's Kindred Healthcare was founded under the name Vencor. For those politically astute in the Commonwealth of Kentucky obviously remember the name Vencor; the failed nursing home giant formally owned by perennial political candidate Bruce Lunsford. Vencor was the sole reason Lunsford lost the 2003 Democratic gubernatorial nomination after a very hard hitting ad was ran exposing the abuses within the walls of Vencor's facilities.
Not only has Jack Conway accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Kindred Healthcare executives he also appeared to provide a service for those contributions. In 2009 Attorney General Jack Conway sent U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a letter asking for the suspension of the nursing home rating system or the star system.
Why did Jack Conway want to eliminate the Medicare rating system for nursing homes? Because out of 285 operational nursing homes in Kentucky 68% fall within or under a 3 star out of 5 rating with a whopping 41% classified as a TWO star or below. The sad number is that 25% of our nursing homes in Kentucky are rated ONE star facilities. We have to add that Kindred Healthcare operates, according to their website, 9 facilities in Kentucky. The majority are rated as ONE star facilities with NONE rated above a THREE star. This is why, I believe, Jack Conway wanted to eliminate the nursing home rating system. He received a payment, in the form of campaign contributions, for a service. But his services appear to be only available to the highest bidder and Kentucky's elderly eventually foot the bill and pay the price.
Kindred Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center in Northglenn, CO, is rated among the 15 worst nursing homes in America. One other interesting note about Kindred Healthcare is fact that an attorney friend of mine attended a trial lawyers conference in Memphis TN and one the of the key points of the training was the fact that Kindred Healthcare's upper-crust are impossible to serve. They employ mafia techniques of ultra secrecy to ensure they will never be cornered and served a subpoena. And Jack Conway is serving them instead of the other way around.
I implore Kentucky's mainstream media to really ask Conway some tough questions. They have failed to do so at this point. And the apparent lack of journalistic integrity on the part of Kentucky's mainstream media is only contributing to the ongoing abuses in Kentucky's nursing homes. Silence IS complicity guys.