These people are robbing nursing homes – Daily Editors’ Notes

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Running a nursing home is hard enough without getting scammed. Yet that is exactly what happens to many operators. In broad daylight.

Worse still, the bad guys insist they’re here to help. Of course, I’m talking about some temporary help agencies. They’ve mastered a one-two punch that knocks many operators to their knees.

First, some are raiding facilities to attract staff. Technically nothing wrong with that. But then they turn around and charge operators three or four times as much to hire the same person, or someone similarly qualified.

Other recruitment agencies just skip the poaching part and just charge exorbitant rates.

These practices are shameful. Worse still, they jeopardize the health of residents and the future of long-term care.

Fortunately, this runaway price hike is beginning to attract the attention of those in a position to take corrective action.

As my colleague Kim Marselas reported recently, Pennsylvania may soon become the third state to pass legislation warning these hackers. Keystone State’s measure would require compliance mandates for temp agencies, while capping the fees they can charge.

In a better world, Congress would have already acted to reduce the outrageous pricing and anti-competitive practices that many temp agencies have adopted. Unfortunately, our federal legislators are too tribal and divided to do much more than seek re-election.

Perhaps the best we can hope for on the national front is for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate these practices, as the industry’s top vendor associations have asked them to do.

So it looks like individual states will have to do the heavy lifting to curb greedy temporary help outlets. Well, I guess it’s better than nothing. But even in the best-case scenario, it will take a long time for that to happen in 50 states. In the meantime, many long-term care operators had better get used to being robbed on a regular basis.

It has often been said that crime does not pay. But never by someone dealing with a temp agency.

John O’Connor is McKnight’s Editorial Director.

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