Warren slams nursing home chain over exec bonuses amid pandemic

Greg Nash

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is castigating a nursing home chain for a $5 million bonus awarded to its then-CEO in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter dated Jan. 27, Warren, a member of the Senate Banking Committee and Special Committee on Aging, called Genesis Healthcare’s $5.2 million “retention payment” to George Hager Jr. “inexplicable and unseemly.”

She noted that the chain and its board approved the bonus two months before Hager announced his retirement in January, along with $2.1 million in bonuses for several other executives in October.

The chain recorded a total of 2,812 coronavirus deaths across its 350 locations, according to Warren’s office, and received a total of $180 million in grants from coronavirus relief legislation, along with $158 million in Medicare payment advances and $27 million in state funding.

“CARES Act funding should not be used to line the pockets of company executives who fail to address the public health threats from the pandemic, and your company should not be seeking additional public funds while giving departing executives multimillion dollar bonuses,” Warren wrote.

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Genesis said: “We are evaluating the inquiry seriously and look forward to the opportunity to provide more information and context in our response. Genesis has been on the frontlines during this pandemic with our leadership and employees working around the clock to keep our patients, residents and staff members as safe as possible.”

Warren’s letter asks Genesis for a full list of federal and state funding assistance it has received since the beginning of last year, as well as an accounting of all compensation to Hager in the same time frame. It further asks for an explanation of the bonuses and compensation to executives “at a time that it describes itself as financially strained and advocated for government funds.”

The Massachusetts senator also asked for details on what benchmarks were used to assess the compensation and whether Genesis “determine[d] that he met those benchmarks despite the deaths of nearly 3,000 residents,” as well as whether the company board was aware of Hager’s imminent retirement when it approved the bonus.

Updated at 4:34 p.m.

Tags CARES Act Coronavirus coronavirus relief coronavirus stimulus Elizabeth Warren Genesis Healthcare George Hager

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