Jane Corwin, Republican candidate for the open seat in the NY-26 special election has come out in favor of the Paul Ryan plan
that guts Medicare and puts an entire generation of Americans in jeopardy of losing their healthcare benefits. This isn’t the first time Corwin has taken sides against the interests of of the elderly, however. Her voting record and campaign donation history reveal a pattern of disregard for aging citizens.
The story starts in 2008 when Corwin entered the race for the NYS Assembly. Although she could have easily funded her own campaign, she chose to accept a donation from the McGuire Group Inc., a Buffalo-based operator of six New York nursing homes that had been previously fined the maximum $2000 for quality of care deficiencies.
According to sources, she also accepted money from Greg J. Chambery, Administrator of the Maplewood Nursing Home that had been fined twice in recent years in the amounts of $2000 (the maximum) and $1000 and another campaign donor: Daniel E. Richardson, Director of Finance for Latta Road Nursing Home in Rochester, NY, a home that was recently fined (once again, the maximum) $2000.
Regarding these fines, Section 12 of the Public Health Law allows the Department of Health to assess fines against nursing homes that have been cited for noncompliance with federal or state regulations that resulted in harm to residents, represents substandard quality of care, or place residents at immediate risk for harm.
The list of these nursing home operators’ infractions is long. The following deficiencies were identified as a pattern of behavior within these nursing homes and not simply one-time happenings:
According to inspections, the homes regularly failed to do the following:
Provide care in a way that keeps or builds each resident’s dignity and self respect.
Keep safe, clean and homelike surroundings.
Provide needed housekeeping and maintenance.
Keep sound levels comfortable.
1) Develop a complete care plan within 7 days of each resident’s admission; 2) prepare a care plan with the care team, including the primary nurse, doctor, resident or resident’s family or representative; or 3) check and update the care plan.
Prepare food that is nutritional, appetizing, tasty, attractive, well-cooked, and at the right temperature.
Store, cook, and give out food in a safe and clean way.
Give each resident care and services to get or keep the highest quality of life possible.
Give residents proper treatment to prevent new bed (pressure) sores or heal existing bed sores.
Make sure there is a program to prevent/deal with mice, insects, or other pests.
Make sure that the nursing home area is safe, easy to use, clean and comfortable
There were more infractions, no less serious, but listed as isolated:
Get rid of garbage properly.
Make sure that the nursing home area is free of dangers that cause accidents.
Keep each resident free from physical restraints, unless needed for medical treatment.
Give each resident enough fluids to keep them healthy and prevent dehydration.
Make sure that each resident’s nutritional needs were met.
1) Hire only people who have no legal history of abusing, neglecting or mistreating residents; or 2) report and investigate any acts or reports of abuse, neglect or mistreatment of residents.
Corwin won her seat in the NYS Assembly with the help of donations from the McGuire Group and officials at nursing homes that had been fined for failing to provide the kind of care you’d expect at a sub-standard dog kennel, but even the egregious treatment failures at these nursing homes and their campaign donations to Jane Corwin may never have been classified as a big deal if it wasn’t for a couple pieces of legislation that came up during Corwin’s first term in the Assembly
Assembly Bill 763 was listed as a piece of ‘significant legislation’ and endeavored to do the following:
Nursing Home Patient Right to Sue Clarifies the right to sue a nursing home under section 2801-d of the Public Health Law by making explicit that such a right extends to injuries against physical and emotional health, financial injury as well as death.
Jane Corwin was one of only 27 who voted against this bill in 2009 but at least, in this case, she could be seen as being loyal to contributors. There was a subsequent bill in 2010 regarding prescription drugs where her vote could be construed as a protection of her own financial interests:
NYS Senate bill S. 5000 reached the Assembly in 2010. The bill promised to do the following:
No health care plan or health insurance policy which provides coverage for prescription drugs and for which cost-sharing, deductibles or co-insurance obligations are determined by category of prescription drugs including, but not limited to, generic drugs, preferred brand drugs and non-preferred brand drugs, shall impose cost-sharing, deductibles or co-insurance obligations for any prescription drug that exceeds the dollar amount of cost-sharing, deductibles or co-insurance obligations for any other prescription drug provided under such coverage in the category of non-preferred brand drugs or their equivalents.
In essence, this bill was enacted to ensure that manufactures of name-brand prescription drugs could not charge unfairly high prices in the state of New York. Jane Corwin was one of only four member of the Assembly to vote against it.
According to an anonymous source, Jane Corwin owns stock in major pharmaceutical companies Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, all of which would have benefited from the failure of S. 5000. Additionally, according to the Associated Press, in December 2006, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. agreed to pay $499 million to settle federal investigations into questionable drug pricing and marketing practices. Also according to the Associated Press, in 2007, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. agreed to pay more than $515 million to settle fraud charges related to federal and state investigations into their drug marketing and pricing practices. Finally, according to the New York Times, 2009, in 2009Pfizer Inc. paid $2.3 billion in a settlement over the company’s illegal promotion of its now-withdrawn painkiller Bextra. This was the largest fine ever levied for fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
As if Corwin’s campaign donations from shoddy nursing homes and her financial association with pharmaceutical companies’ profit motives wasn’t already enough to question her dedication to the average citizen in New York State, she continued her run of voting against the elderly and middle class when S. 8088 reached the Assembly in June of 2010.
Corwin was one of only 17 assembly members to vote against S. 8088, a bill that
requires health insurance companies to receive state approval before enacting premium increases or decreases and to inform premium holders of any proposed rate adjustments
The legislation passed the state Senate 58-0 and passed the Assembly 117-17 including ‘Yes’ votes from 25 Conservative Party and/or Republican member. The New York Times coverage of the bill said “the new legislation also requires insurance companies to obtain approval from state officials before raising rates, a step that the industry had vigorously opposed. Lawmakers contend that the provision will save the state $70 million a year because fewer people will be forced off of private insurance and into public programs.”
As evidenced, Jane Corwin has a long history of showing her disregard for the citizens of New York who lack the finances to afford gold-plated health care. She has come down in favor of deficient nursing homes, pharmaceutical price fixing and higher health insurance costs. After examining her previous actions, it is difficult to see an end to her willingness to vote with her campaign donors to the detriment of her constituents. Now, as a candidate for the United States Congress, she has an opportunity to grow those campaign donations exponentially, but at what cost to voters?