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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, June 30, 2018 1:00 am

Furthermore ...

Court OKs nursing home moratorium

Hoosiers might finally have heard the last of efforts to block a moratorium on nursing home construction. By a 3-2 vote, the Indiana Supreme Court let stand lower court rulings affirming the moratorium approved by the General Assembly in 2015. 

Carmel-based Mainstreet Property Group LLC challenged the law, claiming it impaired its contractual obligations in land purchase agreements in Fort Wayne, New Haven, Zionsville and Jeffersonville. But the appeals court noted closing on those agreements had not taken place, and Mainstreet had been reimbursed all earnest money.

Mainstreet and other free-market advocates fought the moratorium, but the nursing home industry is not a free market – the state or federal government pays for the majority of the beds through Medicaid and Medicare. Indiana's nursing home occupancy rate was only 76 percent when the bill was approved.

Controversy over the legislation cost former state Rep. Eric Turner his leadership post after he pressured his colleagues in a closed-door GOP caucus. Turner had an ownership stake in Mainstreet Capital Partners, with an interest in Mainstreet Property Group. His son, Zeke Turner, was Mainstreet's CEO. The Associated Press reported the company stood to lose millions in future profits if the moratorium was approved.