COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Among Employees At Nursing Homes Lagging, Potentially Contributing To Outbreaks.
ABC News (6/7, Romero, Deliso) reports that even though “COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes have decreased dramatically in the months since residents and staff were prioritized for vaccination, nationwide vaccination rates among nursing home staff are lagging – and experts are concerned that’s contributed to dozens of recent outbreaks in long-term care facilities.” After one “unvaccinated health care worker at a Kentucky nursing home tested positive for the virus in March, 46 total cases were identified in the facility, including in 26 residents, according to a report from the” CDC. In the report, the CDC said “low acceptance of vaccination among [staff] might increase the likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 introduction and transmission within a facility.”
Ineligible New Jersey Nursing Home Managers Reportedly Received COVID-19-Related Bonuses.
The Wall Street Journal (6/6, Weaver, Subscription Publication) reports that, according to newly revealed state records, eight New Jersey state-run veteran nursing home managers were awarded COVID-19 hazard pay despite not qualifying. The respective nursing homes dispersed the payments after being notified of their ineligibility.
Michigan Official Says Nursing Homes Accurately Reporting COVID-19 Deaths.
The AP (6/3, Eggert) reports Elizabeth Hertel, Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, “said Thursday that nursing homes are accurately reporting the number of coronavirus-related deaths, amid questions over whether the tally is low.” Hertel “told lawmakers that the facilities have no ‘reason or incentive to try to hide’ deaths.” The “House Oversight Committee held the hearing after Detroit-area journalist Charlie LeDuff and the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, which had sued for records, questioned if there is an undercount after noting that the state in the early months of the pandemic traced 648 of 1,468 COVID-19 deaths identified through vital records reviews to nursing homes.”
The Detroit Free Press (6/3, Boucher) reports “COVID-19 deaths at smaller long-term care facilities might have slipped through the cracks, the leader of the state’s health department told lawmakers.” Hertel “stressed her department does not know that COVID-19 related deaths are being undercounted at any facility, just that not all are required to report this information.”
Advocates Call On New York Governor, Legislature To Protect Group Home Residents.
The AP (6/3, Villeneuve) reports that on Thursday, New York legislators heard from leaders of “group homes serving residents with developmental and intellectual disabilities” and family members regarding the state’s failure “to provide desperately needed protective gear, testing and help with staffing” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Advocates call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and the legislature “to boost pay for group home workers, require routine COVID-19 testing and ensure people with disabilities are a priority in response plans.”
Long-Term Care Facilities Struggle To Stay Operational As Workers Leave Industry.
Modern Healthcare (6/3, Christ, Subscription Publication) reports that “throughout the pandemic, long-term care facilities have struggled to find staff.” Employees “have left an industry that was hit hard by COVID-19 cases and deaths during the pandemic, seeking out higher paying and potentially less dangerous jobs.” Meanwhile, “employers have struggled to remain operational as volumes fell and costs rose, strapped by what they characterize as inadequate Medicaid reimbursement rates.” According to Modern Healthcare, “nursing homes lost nearly 19,000 jobs in April, the biggest loss in the healthcare sector, according to figures from the” US Bureau of Labor Statistics.