Buffeted by COVID-19, struggling with crumbling finances, one of America’s largest nursing home chains gave its CEO a $5.2 million “retention payment” in late October, just as the second big wave of the pandemic was rising.
On Jan. 5, nonetheless, George Hager Jr. retired as head of Genesis HealthCare.
He will have to pay an unspecified amount of the money back, to avoid certain tax liabilities, according to an SEC filing by the company, but he will apparently be reimbursed over the next two years. The Genesis board also agreed to give him an immediate $650,000 bonus and a $300,000 consulting contract, according to the filing. The company would not elaborate on the arrangement.
Under Hager’s leadership the more than 300 Genesis nursing homes experienced 14,352 confirmed cases of covid-19 through mid-December, according to reports the company made to Medicare officials. The total number of residents who died of the disease was 2,812, as of Dec. 20. Both figures are higher than in comparable nursing home chains.
In a November conference call, the company’s chief financial officer, Tom DiVittorio, said, “We are more dedicated than ever to providing the highest quality care possible.”