PruittHealth works new contract managing state’s nursing homes for veterans

The five-year contract for the Georgia-based company includes a larger fee for managing North Carolina’s four facilities.
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 5:50 PM EDT
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KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - Paul Paquette, 59, is a regular visitor at the North Carolina State Veterans Home in Kinston.

Paquette says he is, “Visiting my sister’s husband. He has dementia.”

He says in his weekly visits to his brother-in-law, he hears good reviews about the facility.

“It’s been good,” Paquette said. “Everything’s clean and everybody’s busy working.”

The Kinston home is one of four managed by PruittHealth, a Georgia-based company that’s held the contract from the state for more than 20 years.

After PruittHealth submitted a bid, the new five-year contract with the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs includes a larger fee. The company will receive 10% of each facility’s revenue, which is an overall 8% rate increase for them.

PruittHealth’s fee also increased to $29 million from $18.5 million, which is more than a 56% overall increase.

The contract comes as data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) shows at least 36 veterans died from COVID-19 in their care across facilities during the pandemic.

“When you’ve got a contractor that’s kind of handling the facility, it makes [it] a little bit tough for local lawmakers to get involved and try to get to the bottom of the issue,” Rep. Chris Humphrey (R-Lenoir) said.

WITN reached out to PruittHealth and the NCDMVA but has not received any comment on whether there’s an investigation into the deaths, which neither has talked about publicly.

PruittHealth released a statement via email on Thursday regarding the new contract.

“PruittHealth had the better package. Cheaper’s not always better,” Humphrey said. “Especially when it comes to our veterans and quality health care. We’ll continue to monitor the other progress. We feel like PruittHealth is best equipped to handle what we have now, we’ll see how it goes.”

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