ProPublica Turns New Eye Toward Big Business of Assisted Living

On the heels of a multi-part series on “Life and Death in Assisted Living,” news outlet Propublica again turns an eye toward the assisted living industry in a recent print report on the big business and management of the sector. 

Despite problems associated with individual assisted living communities, the properties change hands regularly among investors, ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson, who contributed to the earlier reports, writes in the latest article. 

“Hundreds of such facilities — some exemplary, some deeply troubled — change hands each year, many of them scooped up by the large chains that have come to dominate this swiftly expanding industry,” Thompson writes.


Again focusing in on Emeritus Corp. (NYSE: ESC), the recent report recaps the story of a single assisted living community in McMinnville, Oregon that while the site of several problems regarding staff and dementia care, has been bought and sold several times in three years. 

Further delving into the investor landscape for assisted living, Thompson outlines the activities of real estate investment trusts in the space that have recently bought multi-billion-dollar portfolios of properties, including last year’s acquisition by Health Care REIT of Sunrise Senior Living’s property portfolio and Emeritus’s purchase of Sunwest. 

Again pointing to concerns regarding the management of the properties, Propublica questions whether large management companies should be providing health care for frail and elderly residents. 


“Individual facilities may be unable to provide good care because the parent corporation isn’t giving them enough money,” Brian Kaskie, associate director of the University of Iowa’s Center on Aging, told Propublica. “It’s all spread-sheet driven.”

View the Propublica article

Written by Elizabeth Ecker