Report Notes Neglect, Mistakes Made By For-Profit Vermont Nursing Home Where 11 Died

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More than 40% of the coronavirus fatalities in the U.S. are tied to nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The New York Times investigates what went wrong at the Burlington (Vermont) Health & Rehab Center. Other news on nursing homes comes from Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Texas, Louisiana and Nevada, as well.

The New York Times:
A Nursing Home’s 64-Day Covid Siege: ‘They’re All Going To Die’

Betty LaBombard, a longtime waitress at Woolworth’s, celebrated her 95th birthday on March 1 at the Vermont nursing home where she had been a fixture for eight years, often perched in her wheelchair near the fourth-floor nurses’ station. Her niece brought her a chocolate cupcake. Down the hall, Frances McKenna, a social force on their floor, looked forward to getting her hair done in the home’s salon. One flight up, Joseph Metallo, who had moderate dementia, chatted with his son, Mike, while making a construction-paper lamb for Easter. He wore his new glasses and kept his large-print Bible nearby. (Barker, 6/8)

The Hill:
Nursing Homes Fail To Get COVID-19 Under Control 

More than three months since the coronavirus first appeared in a Seattle-area nursing home, facilities are still struggling to contain its spread. According to federal data collected and released publicly for the first time this week, thousands of nursing homes across the country lack basic personal protective equipment (PPE). Facilities are also facing staffing shortages, and many are even running out of hand sanitizer. (Weixel, 6/7)

The New York Times:
Navigating Home Care During The Pandemic

In March, Amy Carrier asked one of the two women who provided home care for her mother to stop coming to work. Her mother, 74, has Alzheimer’s disease and lives with her in Corvallis, Ore. To protect her from the coronavirus, “it was clear that I needed to lock down my house,” said Ms. Carrier, 45, a foundation executive. She allowed one helper, who lived with only an adult daughter, to continue helping her mother bathe, take walks and play puzzles and games. But the other aide has a household of six, including four teenagers, and was visiting other clients’ homes. (Span, 6/6)

Modern Healthcare:
COVID-19 Pandemic Proves To Be Pivotal Moment For Senior Care

A systemic underinvestment in senior care has left workers and those they care for exposed to unnecessary risk, calling into question nursing homes’ viability, operators and policy experts said. While some providers were able to adapt more quickly than others, the response to the pandemic has largely been a reactive one. They are hopeful that the crisis will shape a new approach to post-acute and long-term care, both from an operational and philosophical perspective, but to this point the outlook has been bleak. (Kacik, 6/6)

Boston Globe:
Baker Says He’s Looking Forward To ‘Complete, Thorough, And Objective’ Review Of What Went Wrong At Holyoke Soldiers’ Home 

Governor Charlie Baker said Friday that he expects former federal prosecutor Mark W. Pearlstein to complete his report on the devastating COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home “reasonably soon” but stressed he’s not rushing the prominent lawyer’s review of what went wrong at the veterans’ facility. Speaking during his daily briefing following a tour of a Cambridge shared biotech lab facility, Baker said he and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito are as “anxious” as everyone else to see the report on the outbreak, which has killed at least 76 veterans. (Andersen, Finucane and Reiss, 6/5)

Houston Chronicle:
Texas Stays Mum As Feds Reveal Which Nursing Homes Have Coronavirus Outbreaks

As Texas health officials refuse to say which nursing homes are suffering coronavirus outbreaks, a federal agency released its own data this week that identifies 150 facilities in Texas with COVID-19 cases and 72 nursing homes where residents died. The preliminary data released by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency that regulates nursing homes, offers the first nationwide snapshot of how each facility is coping with a disease that is particularly dangerous for elderly residents. (Tedesco, Foxhall, Dempsey and Rubio, 6/5)

New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Federal Coronavirus Numbers On Nursing Homes Show Devastating Impact; Full Scope Remains Unclear 

For the first time, federal authorities on Thursday released nationwide data showing the coronavirus’s impact on U.S. nursing homes, though they cautioned that the data is incomplete and inconsistent. The data dump gives the public the first detailed look at the devastating toll the virus has exacted on nursing homes across the country, some of which have seen scores of vulnerable residents die and hundreds infected. (Roberts III, 6/6)

Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Feds: One-Third Of Nevada Nursing Home Virus Deaths Not Reported 

Almost one-third of Nevada nursing home residents who died after contracting COVID-19 have not been publicly reported by state officials, according to a recently published federal report. At least 126 nursing home residents infected with the respiratory disease have died in Nevada, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported June 1. State officials had reported only 89 deaths as of June 5. (Davidson, 6/5)


This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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