The State of California is alleging Brentwood-based Brookdale Senior Living has manipulated the federal five-star rating system by providing false staffing data to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

A lawsuit led by President Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of health and human services, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, accuses the company of submitting falsified payroll and staffing data to the federal government to artificially inflate ratings for nursing homes in its network.

Prosecutors also called into question Brookdale’s quality of care, bringing into the fold accusations that the company transferred patients in and out of bed spaces based on potential revenue gain rather than patient needs.

A spokesperson for Brookdale said the company “categorically” denies the allegations, noting similar lawsuits have been threatened and filed following an investigation into the nursing home rating system by The New York Times that scrutinized several Brookdale facilities.

“We are disappointed in the allegations against the skilled nursing industry. Publicizing unproven allegations is reckless and undermines the public’s confidence in a service necessary to the care of elderly individuals, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the spokesperson said. “Brookdale is dedicated to providing quality care to our residents and patients, and we take our mission of enriching the lives of those we serve seriously.”

Shares of Brookdale (Ticker: BKD) rose more than 5 percent to $6.81 Monday. Over the past six months, they have risen 130 percent, taking them back to where they were in February of last year.

This story first ran in our partner publication the Nashville Post.

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