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Takeover of WA Nursing Homes Could Be ‘Hostile’

October 10, 2007

Olympia, WA – An investment group with such diverse holdings as Brazilian real estate, Hertz car rentals, and Dunkin Donuts, now wants to buy the nation's largest nursing home chain, including four homes in Washington. That has eldercare advocates concerned enough to ask Governor Gregoire to step in. They want public hearings and an investigation of the Carlyle Group's plans to take over "Manor Care" locations.

Adam Glickman is vice president of Service Employees' International Union Local 775 (SEIU),, the union that represents nursing home workers. He says federal records show a pattern of staff and service cuts in nursing homes that are owned by large, private investment firms, while the companies' top executives make millions in profit from the sales.

"Over the last six years, every single time a large nursing home chain has been acquired by a private equity firm, serious quality-of-care deficiencies in those nursing homes have increased."

Glickman adds some lawmakers and senior advocates see Carlyle's buyout bid as part of a trend, and that Washington should act now to control the consequences in the future.

"Private equity companies know that the elderly population is booming. They see this as a growth industry, and we absolutely have to make sure that we're protecting vulnerable residents, that we're protecting caregivers, and that we're protecting taxpayers."

A news conference is scheduled for 11:00 AM today on the Statehouse steps in Olympia. Manor Care has locations in Gig Harbor, Lynnwood, Tacoma, and Spokane.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA