New Hampshire Nursing Homes To Take Over Testing Staff For Coronavirus.
The AP (9/26) reports that nursing homes in New Hampshire “will be in charge of testing their staff for the coronavirus starting next month.” The state Department of Health and Human Services “has been operating a surveillance testing program in long term care facilities, but in mid-October will start transitioning that to individual facilities, Commissioner Lori Shibinette said last week.” The state “is recommending facilities test all staff during the same week once a month, and then every other week test 10% of staff chosen at random.”
NJ.com (September 26)
It took five years and a worldwide pandemic to make it happen, but state lawmakers Thursday approved a bill that would require a minimum number of frontline nursing home workers on every shift. Certified nursing aides — who feed, bathe and comfort nursing home residents and get paid an average of about $36,000 a year — have long complained they have more responsibilities than they can handle, especially on nights and weekends. The coronavirus outbreak sickened thousands of these workers, making the shortage of CNA’s worse.
Wisconsin State Journal (September 26)
Sixty-two nursing homes in Wisconsin — none of them in Dane County — have reported a total of 271 COVID-19 deaths, according to new federal data this week. Meanwhile, Wisconsin reported 2,504 new COVID-19 cases Friday, its second-highest daily total after a record 2,533 cases on Sept. 18, and nine more deaths, for a total of 1,274.
New Jersey Lawmakers Advance Legislation To Address Isolation In Long-Term Care Facilities.
In a broader article, NJ News (9/25, Livio) reported New Jersey lawmakers advanced several pieces of “pandemic-related legislation intended to improve the safety of nursing homes,” including a measure which “requires the state Health Department to oversee the creation of an ‘isolation prevention project’ in every long-term care facility within 30 days of the bill being signed into law. The bill passed the Senate 39-0 and the Assembly 79-0.”
Former Leaders Of Massachusetts Veterans Home That Experienced COVID Outbreak Charged.
The Washington Post (9/25, Lamothe) reports, “Two former leaders of a state-run veterans home in Massachusetts where dozens of residents died in a coronavirus outbreak were indicted on criminal charges and face possible jail time, the state’s top law enforcement official said Friday.” Bennet Walsh, previously the home’s superintendent, and David Clinton, previously the facility’s medical director, were charged due to “their alleged roles in abuse and mistreatment of elderly and disabled residents at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke.” No less than 76 veterans at the facility “died of covid-19 as the novel coronavirus swept through the institution, and an additional 84 residents and 80 staff members tested positive.” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said, “We believe this is the first criminal case in the country brought against those involved in nursing homes during the covid-19 pandemic.”
The New York Times (9/25, Diaz) reports Healey also said that if Walsh and Clinton are convicted, they face potentially decades in prison. They were each “indicted on five counts for two charges; the specific charges were for caretakers who ‘wantonly or recklessly’ permit or cause bodily injury and abuse, neglect or mistreatment of an older or disabled person.” Tracy Miner, Walsh’s attorney, “said in an email that he planned to plea not guilty.” The Soldiers’ Home “has been under investigation since early April, when the attorney general’s office said it learned of ‘serious issues with Covid-19 infection control procedures.’”
The Wall Street Journal (9/25, Mann, Subscription Publication) reports the charges stem mostly from a March decision to merge a pair of dementia units at Soldiers’ Home into a single unit, which put a number of residents who were already diagnosed with COVID-19 close to other residents who were yet to display any symptoms, according to prosecutors.
Maryland Nursing Home Inspectors Do Not Have To Be Tested For COVID-19.
The Baltimore Sun (9/25, Cohn) reports that dozens of state health inspectors in Maryland “have been visiting nursing homes in recent months to ensure infection control standards are followed during the coronavirus pandemic, at times fining the facilities for insufficient testing of staff and residents.” But those surveyors “are not required to be tested for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, raising concerns at the facilities that are filled with vulnerable seniors.” Joseph DeMattos Jr., president of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland, “which represents some of the centers, said: ‘We have long advocated for the state to require the testing of health care inspectors, the same way they require testing of those who provide the health care.’”
Providence Journal (September 25)
More than six months into the COVID-19 crisis, the disease is continuing to spread in Rhode Island nursing homes. Some homes that had dealt with more than 100 cases in the spring are seeing new ones crop up. Others that were untouched throughout the first waves of disease are now dealing with their first outbreaks as the state braces for the fall.
AZ Central (September 24)
Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Arizona reopened to visitors earlier this month after being closed to most outsiders for months because of the coronavirus pandemic. But rolling out the welcome mat has been anything but smooth. Senior advocates and operators of long-term facilities say guidelines issued by Arizona Department of Health Services are causing confusion, with some managers incorrectly interpreting the guidelines to limit visits to only 15 minutes.
AP (September 22)
Confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths are rising again in France’s nursing homes for the first time in months.
CNN (September 21)
In nursing homes and assisted living communities, minorities suffer most from COVID-19, research says
Older racial and ethnic minority residents in nursing homes and assisted living communities in the United States and their caregivers have been hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new research by the University of Rochester Medical Center. The findings, based on newly mandated weekly data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of more than 15,500 nursing homes, came from two studies published Monday in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
NOLA.com (September 20)
At least eight residents of the Maison Orleans nursing home in Uptown New Orleans have died from the coronavirus — according to records provided by the Orleans Parish coroner’s office, anyhow. But the state Department of Health only lists three Maison Orleans residents among Louisiana’s 5,172 COVID-19 deaths.