On March 20, a nursing home company founded and run by politically notable Lake Oswego resident Rick Miller, Avamere Health Services, contributed $20,000 to one of Gov. Kate Brown’s political action committees.
This contribution came around the time the Oregon’s Veterans Home in Lebanon underwent a coronavirus outbreak. This timing has made some question Avamere’s influence on the state’s decisions about nursing homes amidst the pandemic. However, spokesman Thomas Wheatley for Gov. Brown stated that the contribution was unrelated to COVID-19 and was pledged back in fall 2019.
Brown spokesman says pledge was from 2019: Many are still questioning the contribution because Oregon has been particularly slow to release information about the effect COVID-19 has had on group and senior residences. As of April 14, Oregon revealed that 32 of the 52 coronavirus related deaths in the state have occurred in nursing home staff and/or residents. Avamere specifically has had three of its 65 nursing homes report cases, and two of them report deaths.
DHS is paying to isolate senior residents: Laurelhurst Village and another Portland nursing home have experienced more than half of the COVID-19 deaths in Multnomah County. As a result, the Department of Human Services has agreed to pay for these COVID-19 positive nursing home residents to be isolated in a separate facility at $1,375 per bed per month.
By Cara Nixon