James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal smelled a conflict-of-interest problem when "The Washington Post Co. said Monday that it has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Celtic Healthcare, a provider of skilled home health-care and hospice services in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions.”
The Post has offset losses in its core journalism businesses with profits from its Kaplan educational business. But federal money is part of the cash flow. A recent story on threatened accreditations noted “A loss of accreditation would mean the Kaplan campuses would no longer be eligible for Title IV loans from the Education Department, the source of nearly 90 percent of Kaplan higher-education revenue.” The Post’s foray into health care will also make the Post more dependent on government revenue:
Celtic Healthcare relies heavily on funds from Medicare, which provides hospice benefits "for extended periods of time based on the assessment of the patient," according to Celtic's Web site. In its blog last November and again last month, the company posted appeals from health industry groups asking people to lobby Congress to defeat Medicare funding cuts and increases in co-pays.
Taranto wrote: “One might wonder if there's a conflict of interest when the publisher of the major newspaper in the nation's capital acquires a company that has such a strong interest in the policy decisions that are made there. Also, in an era when people wonder about the survival of the traditional media, for a newspaper to go into the hospice business may not be the greatest symbolism.”