Articles Posted in coronavirus

Some New York nursing homes’ internal coronavirus death counts far exceed the official state figures, according to a new report by the New York Post. Staff members at several nursing homes told the paper that a widespread lack of coronavirus testing has resulted in institutions’ inability to attribute deaths to the virus with certainty, leading to confusion about the true number of coronavirus deaths. One nursing home resident advocate suggested that some facilities may have “taken advantage” of the confusion to be less than transparent about fatalities.

The Post report cites a few nursing homes in which internal documents reflect a higher death count than figures released by the state. Cypress Garden Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Flushing, Queens sustained 76 deaths between March 1 and May 2, whereas the state described seven deaths. Seagate Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Coney Island suffered 74 deaths through May 1, whereas the state described 25. And Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Woodbury suffered 115 deaths through May 8, whereas the state described 23.

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Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing suffered 13 coronavirus deaths as of May 17, 2020, per state records. The nursing home also received 78 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on May 18, 2020. The facility has additionally received seven enforcement actions, including: a 2019 fine of $2,000 in connection to findings in a 2015 inspection that it violated unspecified health code provisions; a 2018 fine of $10,000 in connection to findings in a 2015 inspection that it violated unspecified health code provisions; and a 2016 fine of $40,000 in connection to findings that it violated health code provisions regarding transfer and discharge requirements, discharge, quality of care, and staff treatment of residents. The Syracuse nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of 14 surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not take adequate measures to prevent infection. Section 483.80 of the Federal Code requires nursing homes to maintain an infection control program that ensures residents a sanitary environment. A January 2017 citation found that Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing did not ensure such. The citation states specifically that two employees “did not receive the flu vaccine, did not sign a declination of influenza vaccination, and were observed wearing their flu masks incorrectly.” The citation goes on to state that eight other employees wore their flu masks incorrectly, “potentially exposing residents and staff to influenza.” The citation states that this deficiency had the “potential to cause more than minimal harm.”

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The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome suffered 8 coronavirus deaths as of May 17, 2020, per state records. The nursing home also received 36 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on May 18, 2020. The facility has additionally received one enforcement action: a 2019 fine of $10,000 in connection to findings in a 2019 inspection that it violated unspecified health code provisions. The Rome nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of seven surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include three alleged violations of Section 483.80 of the Federal Code, which requires nursing homes to maintain an infection prevention and control program that helps mitigate the development and transmission of communicable diseases and infections. Those three citations include:

1. A January 2020 citation states that an inspector observed that a resident’s IV access had no cap placed on its port, and that staff were touching the end of the access with ungloved hands. The inspector also observed a treatment in which a resident “did not have a barrier placed between bare feet and the floor and clean supplies and a soiled dressing were placed on the resident’s bed.” A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the reeducation of relevant staff members on proper infection control technique, including the capping of IV tubing and the need for a barrier between residents’ feet and the bare floor during treatment.

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Bishop Rehabilitation and Nursing Center suffered nine coronavirus deaths as of May 17, 2020, per state records. The nursing home also received 109 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on May 18, 2020. The facility has additionally received eight enforcement actions, including: a 2018 fine of $24,000 in connection to findings it violated unspecified health code provisions; a 2016 fine of $10,000 in connection to findings in a 2016 inspection that it violated health code provisions regarding pressure sores; and a 2016 fine of $10,000 in connection to findings in a 2016 inspection that it violated health code provisions regarding accidents. The Syracuse nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of 15 surveys by state inspectors. These citations include several for alleged violations of Section 483.80 of the Federal Code, which requires nursing homes establish and implement infection control practices. Those three citations include:

1. An August 2019 citation found that the nursing home did not ensure proper hand hygiene was performed during the administration of medication. An inspector specifically observed a Licensed Practical Nurse prepare medications for a resident without performing hand hygiene. The LPN was observed removing blister packs from her cart while touching her computer and mouse, then helping the resident back into his wheelchair after he fell, obtaining his vital signs, returning to her cart, removing pills from blister packs, placing them in a cup, and giving them to the resident, all without performing hand hygiene. The LPN was then observed pushing the cart to another resident’s doorway, removing blister packs from the cart, popping pills into a cup, touching her computer mouse, pouring water into a up, moving the resident’s overbed table, and handing him the pills and some water, then returning to her cart without performing hand hygiene. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included educating the LPN on proper hand washing technique.

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Union Plaza Care Center suffered 20 coronavirus deaths as of May 17, 2020, per state records. The nursing home also received nine citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on May 18, 2020. The facility has additionally received one enforcement action: a 2010 fine of $2,000 in connection to findings in a 2009 inspection that it violated health code provisions regarding accidents and supervision. The Flushing nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of seven surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not ensure the establishment and maintenance of its infection prevention and control program. Section 483.80 of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing home facilities must create and maintain infection control programs that help prevent disease and infection. A March 2020 citation found that Union Plaza Care Center did not ensure such. The citation states specifically that a resident’s Bi-pap machine oxygen tubing “was observed touching the floor,” and that a resident’s nasal cannula was observed “attached to a portable oxygen tank uncovered and touching the floor.” The citation states that these deficiencies had the “potential to cause more than minimal harm.”

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An investigation by USA Today found that of 88 New York nursing homes with reported COVID-19 deaths (as of May 1), 51 had previously received citations from health inspectors for violations of infection control regulations. A few days after this investigation, New York officials released findings that 353 nursing homes in the state had reported 4,813 confirmed or presumed deaths from COVID-19, comprising about one-fourth of the state’s COVID-related fatalities. This aligns with national figures, according to USA Today, which found that “COVID-19-related illnesses in nursing homes account for about a quarter of deaths in the US.”

Many nursing homes have long suffered from infection control issues, with state and federal inspectors identifying violations at homes across the state. USA Today describes a 2017 inspection of Carillon Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, in Long Island, which found that the nursing home failed to ensure that “an incidence of a communicable disease was reported to the state Department of Health” as required. In that incidence, five residents suffered from scabies, but the facility’s director of nursing did not report the disease. “Now,” USA Today states, “it has reported 30 deaths from COVID-19.”

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Staffers at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale, New York allege that the nursing home has covered up almost a hundred COVID-19-related deaths, according to a May 9, 2020 report in the New York Post.

Whistleblowers say that whereas the nursing home has officially reported 25 resident deaths from confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in March and April, the true number is 119. Both numbers exceed the 18 deaths recorded by the New York State Department of Health as of May 8, according to the Post, which notes that the state “does not include nursing-home residents who die in hospitals in its official count.”

The Post report goes on to state that Hebrew Home employees were also “ravaged” by the virus, with documents reflecting at least 71 staffers suffering from confirmed cases of the coronavirus. 35 people died at Hebrew Home in March, according to the Post, and 84 in April, with eleven deaths occurring over one two-day period. Sources told the Post, “There were so many bodies that an empty building on campus, the Catholic church’s former Cardinal Spellman Retreat House, was turned into a temporary morgue.”

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Central Park Rehabilitation And Nursing Center suffered eight coronavirus deaths as of May 17, 2020, according to state records and local news reports. The nursing home received 15 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on May 18, 2020. The facility has also received three enforcement actions: a 2018 fine of $4,000 in connection to findings in a 2015 inspection that it violated unspecified health code provisions; a 2016 fine of $12,000 in connection to findings in a 2015 inspection that it violated health code provisions regarding pressure ulcers and quality of care; and a 2010 fine of $2,000 in connection to findings in a 2009 inspection that it violated health code provisions regarding infection control. The Syracuse nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of three surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not adequately maintain its infection control program. Section 483.80 of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing homes must “establish and maintain an infection prevention and control program” to prevent the development and transmission of disease and infection. A January 2020 citation found that Central Park Rehabilitation And Nursing Center did not ensure such a program was properly maintained. The citation states specifically that one of the facility’s Licensed Practical Nurses failed to conduct proper hand hygiene before administering medication to a resident. In an interview, the nurse stated that she knew she did not perform proper hand hygiene, and that hand hygiene should have been performed before she administered the resident’s medication, so as to prevent the spread of infection and flu. The citation states that this deficiency had the “potential to cause more than minimal harm.”

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New York State Veterans’ Home in St. Albans, in Queens, has violated Health Department coronavirus protocols, according to a May 5, 2020 report by THE CITY.  Facility employees told the publication that the nursing home was failing to separate roommates in cases where one had a suspected case of COVID-19; and that the nursing home was not isolating infected residents in their own section of the facility, with their own separate team of care workers.

Employees also described shortages of personal protective equipment, telling THE CITY that N95 masks were “handed out just once in late March and expected to last for weeks,” with the supplies restocked only a few weeks ago.

They also alleged that the facility was under-reporting resident deaths from COVID-19. The actual number, they said, was “at least twice or even three times the official tally of 19” by May 1, 2020, that the facility reported to the Department of Health. THE CITY notes that the facility is operated by the Department of Health, suggesting that the Department was “essentially” under-reporting the death count “to itself.”

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Staffers at St. Cabrini Nursing Home in Dobbs Ferry, New York allege that the facility has exhibited negligence in its response to the coronavirus, according to news reports. Employees describe a shortage of personal protective equipment provided by the facility administration, with some “wearing garbage bags out of desperation.” One employee told Westchester’s News 12, “I’m afraid for my life, my coworkers are afraid for their lives, I’m afraid to bring this home to my family… I don’t know what to do.” Workers who spoke with News 12 did so on condition of anonymity, fearing that the facility would retaliate.

The April 17 report by News 12 goes on to state that the nursing home’s union sent it images of staffers using garbage bags as protective gowns, as well as an image of a notice posted by the administration that sad: “”There are no blue or yellow gowns at the moment, please don’t ask, the alternative PPE for now are hospital gowns combined with a garbage bag.” An administrator disputed the image’s veracity to News 12 and asserted that the facility had resolved its supply issues; workers said the nursing home was “covering up” the extent of the issues it was facing.

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