The Life Care Center of Kirkland, a nursing home in Seattle, Washington, has been fined over $600,000 by both state and federal regulators. The fine came after regulators found a litany of problems at the facility contributing to dozens of cases of COVID-19, leading to nearly 40 deaths. Source.
Life Care Center put its residents in “immediate jeopardy” when they failed to identify and manage COVID-19 cases, failed to notify regulators of increasing infections, and failed to have an adequate plan in place when the top doctor at the facility got sick. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the facility could lose access to federal health care programs if it fails to correct these issues by September. Other necessary improvements that Life Care Center must make are record-keeping and personnel structure.
Life Care Center had some of the first COVID-19 cases in the United States, which were found during a joint inspection by CMS and the Washington State Department of Health in March. According to the Washington State Department of Health, Life Care Center is barred from accepting any new residents until the following problems are addressed and fixed: quality of care, availability of doctors, and infection control.
Life Care Center must submit a plan to regulators outlining how residents will be protected in similar situations, what changes will be made to ensure these problems will not occur again, and how the effectiveness of their changes will be monitored.
Around two-thirds of residents and staff at Life Care Center have tested positive for COVID-19 since February, and has quickly become one of the largest hotspots for the outbreak in the United States. Thirty-seven people related to the facility who were infected have died as a result of the virus.
Cheryl Strange, Washington Department of Social and Health Services Secretary, said that “The coronavirus outbreak at Life Care was an unprecedented situation for the state of Washington” and added that the agency is applying lessons learned from the inquiry to other facilities.
CMS is ramping up its inspections of nearly 150 nursing homes in 27 states that have had at least one positive COVID-19 case. Nursing homes should not wait for the CMS inspection to prepare to prevent the virus. The CMS has a self-assessment tool for nursing homes to ensure they are prepared to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which all nursing homes should be using right away.
If your loved one is currently residing in a nursing home, you want to ensure that they are safe during this time. To find out that some nursing homes are not doing everything they can to keep your loved ones safe can be heartbreaking. If your loved one is residing in a nursing home and is not being properly protected during this time, contact the personal injury attorneys at Beltz & Beltz to see how we can help.