Washington Post Co. looks to deathbed care provider as last hope

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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The Washington Post Co. hopes a Medicare-funded hospice provider will be an important source of revenue after selling its flagship newspaper to billionaire founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million in cash Monday.

As Bezos becomes sole owner of the Washington Post newspaper, the Washington Post Co. will change its name and soldier on with a portfolio of less prestigious media properties — including, The, and Foreign Policy. The company also still owns the test preparation services provider Kaplan Inc., which is suffering from increased government regulation of for-profit education services and was blamed in one major August 2012 report for the Post Co.’s 29 percent decline in revenue in the second quarter of 2012.

But the Post Co. is determined to turn a profit by focusing on the hospice care industry, a source present at the company’s May 2013 shareholder meeting told The Daily Caller.

In October 2012, the Post Co. purchased a majority stake in Celtic Healthcare, which provides home health care and hospice services on the East Coast. The health care provider is reliant on funding from Medicare, and publicly encouraged lobbying efforts against Medicare cuts.

The purchase was “part of the Post Company’s ongoing strategy of investing in companies with demonstrated earnings potential and strong management teams attracted to our long-term investment horizon,” according to Post Co. chairman and CEO Donald Graham, whose family has owned the Post Co. for decades.

Celtic Healthcare reportedly makes $43 million in annual revenue and serves 2,000 patients across nine locations on the East Coast. Upon making the purchase, the Post Co. provided Celtic with “capital for expansion.”

The Post Co. did not return a request for comment.

Although Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were credited with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Watergate reporting that led to Richard Nixon’s 1974 resignation, the newspaper has in recent years become an embarrassing joke, according to multiple readings of content put out by the Post newspaper and its various online blogs.

In March 2012, Post columnist Alexandra Petri was forced to publicly apologize to radio host Rush Limbaugh after using falsehoods, described by Limbaugh as an “out-and-out lie,” in a column critical of the conservative personality following his feud with Sandra Fluke. Former Post journalist Liz Flock, meanwhile, whose December 2011 piece accusing Mitt Romney of using a KKK slogan in his speeches was corrected to reflect “multiple, serious factual errors that undermine its premise,” resigned in April 2012 after a “significant ethical lapse” described by other journalists as an act of plagiarism.

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Patrick Howley