SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 3, 2014

Nursing home sought donations for DeLeo

BEVERLY — A nursing home in Beverly has asked families of residents to donate to House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s re-election campaign, a practice that one election reform advocate called “a classic example of illegal bundling.”

A spokeswoman for DeLeo’s campaign committee said he had no knowledge of the nursing home’s solicitation effort on his behalf and will not accept the donations.

In a Feb. 24 letter, Essex Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center executive director Frank Silvia urged families to write checks to DeLeo’s re-election campaign and mail them to the nursing home or leave them at the reception desk.

Silvia said the donations would support the cause of fighting cuts to Medicaid reimbursement for nursing homes, which he said “would have a drastic impact on our ability to meet the needs of your loved ones residing at Essex Park.”

A sign in the nursing home lobby also urges visitors to write a check to DeLeo’s campaign and leave it at the reception desk.

The letter said Essex Park would collect the donations for DeLeo and deliver them today. “We need to support those legislators who are supporting our cause,” the letter said.

Silvia could not be reached for comment. When contacted by The Salem News, Essex Park’s parent company called the letter an “inadvertent error.”

The company, HealthBridge Management, said it would retract the letter and return any donations that have been made.

“Our company welcomes grass-roots advocacy on the part of our facility residents and their families in seeking adequate Medicaid funds to be able to attract and retain the skilled nursing care so vital to our state’s medical system,” HealthBridge Management Vice President of Operations Sharon Donaghue said in a statement. “However, we do not support either the endorsement of any specific candidate or the collection of funds at our facilities.”

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