July 1, 2024
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A Place for Mom under Senate scrutiny


An elder care referral company that is widely used by Central Coast home health organizations and consumers, has come under scrutiny by the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

In a letter dated June 17, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania), who chairs the committee, requested financial and other information from Slyvia Zlotsky, CEO of A Place for Mom, a New York based company that for years has been running national television campaigns promoting its referral services. 

“Rather than offering an unbiased assessment of the best options out of the full set of facilities older adults and their families are choosing from, A Place for Mom only refers to facilities that pay the company a commission,” he said in a release obtained by the Business Times.  

“Additionally, recent reporting suggests that some of A Place for Mom’s top-rated facilities actually have records of substandard or dangerous care and that the company may overstate the degree to which its services save families money,” he added.

A Place for Mom was founded the pacific northwest around 2000 by Pamela Temple, John Temple and Brian Trisler and successfully raised $6.5 million from Battery Ventures in 2006. 

Warburg Pincus, an investment bank, subsequently bought a majority stake. In 2017 the company successfully raised additional capital from Silverlake and General Atlantic private equity firms.

John Temple who had been chief operating officer, Pamala Temple, formerly CEO, moved to Santa Barbara after the company was sold, according to a talk she gave at a UC Santa Barbara Technology Management Program. 

A 2022 round of financing raised an additional $175 million, and the company’s valuation reached $1 billion according to published reports.

Over the years, A Place for Mom has evolved from a successful startup in the fast-growing elder care space, to one that has increasingly drawn scrutiny over the role of private equity in managing large health care enterprises, particularly in the field of elder care. 

The company, then based in Seattle, was sued in 2017 for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in its telemarketing practices. In 2019, it agreed to settle the suit for $6 million but a judge subsequently questioned the settlement.

The Casey letter over referral practices comes after a Washington Post report earlier this year that cited quality problems with care homes that were part of A Place for Mom’s referral network in the Washington, D.C. area and other cities.

Home care organizations throughout the Central Coast utilize its referral platform to recruit clients, citing the reach of its platform and ease of use for clients.

But Casey in his letter raised questions about what a press release called 
“troubling conditions across the American assisted living landscape.” 

An NBC news report on the Casey letter cited reporting by the Seattle Times in 2010 that said A Place for Mom referrals were made without prior inspections and the company said at that time that its advisers sometimes fall behind in inspections.

The Washingon Post analysis said that a large number of A Place for Mom website recommendations were cited for substandard care. That article was also cited in the NBC News report.