• Advertisement
To advertise, place classifieds free ads by category in a forum as a new topic, or in the classified display ads section, or start a classifieds free blog.

Dem Governors Keep Sending Covid Patients to Nursing Homes

Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities Account for 42% of COVID-19 Deaths

Postby smix » Thu May 28, 2020 4:32 pm

Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities Account for 42% of COVID-19 Deaths
FREOPP

URL: https://freopp.org/the-covid-19-nursing ... 47433c3f70
Category: heslthNews
Published: May 22, 2020

Description: A startling statistic has profound implications for the way we’ve managed the coronavirus pandemic.
Based on a new analysis of state-by-state COVID-19 fatality reports, it is clear that the most underappreciated aspect of the novel coronavirus pandemic is its effect on a specific population of Americans: those living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 affects the elderly far more severely, on average, than younger individuals. But it turns out that among those who are elderly, deaths are concentrated even further among those living in long term care facilities. This has implications for both those who live in such facilities and those who don’t.
Five categories of long-term care providers
There are five core categories of long-term care providers, of which two are our focus: nursing homes and residential care communities.
* Nursing homes. Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities or SNFs, include 24-hour supervision, nursing care, three meals a day, and assistance with activities of daily living. Nursing home residents are usually people with long-term physical, medical, or mental conditions requiring 24-hour supervision, but can also include patients recently discharged from a hospital who need such care temporarily.
* Assisted living facilities. Assisted living facilities, sometimes called residential care homes or personal care homes, are similar to nursing homes, but for individuals who don’t require full-time medical care on-site. They offer meals and assistance with activities of daily living.
* Adult day service centers. Adult day service centers, sometimes called adult day care, are usually only open during normal business hours, and offer a lighter menu of services for those needing some assistance.
* Home health care. Home health care, often delivered through agencies, offer services similar to those of nursing homes but in an individual’s home.
* Hospices. Hospices are long-term care facilities for those with terminal illnesses (e.g., those with 6 months or less to live).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.1 million people live in nursing homes or residential care facilities, representing 0.6% of the U.S. population. And yet residents in such facilities account for 42 percent of all deaths from COVID-19, for states that report such statistics. Alaska, Hawaii, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming do not break out deaths by residential categories. But among the 80,273 U.S. COVID-19 deaths captured by our analysis, 33,836, or 42 percent, were nursing or residential care home residents. Based on long-term care usage and demographics in the nine largely rural states that do not report long-term care fatalities, we also estimate that, nationally, the share of fatalities from nursing home and residential care facilities is 42 percent, and 53 percent outside of New York State. Our calculations are available in an online spreadsheet for public review. We estimate the national share of nursing and residential care home COVID-19 fatalities in three ways:
* Estimate 1 (42.3%): Among states reporting nursing home fatalities, death from COVID-19 has struck 1.8% of U.S. residents of nursing homes and residential care facilities. We estimate that 2.1 million Americans over 65 live in nursing homes and residential care facilities; by extrapolating 1.8% across the entire U.S. nursing and residential care home population, we estimate that nursing homes account for 42.2% of COVID-19 fatalities.
* Estimate 2 (42.2%): This is our most simplistic estimate. Among states reporting nursing and residential care home fatalities from COVID-19, nursing homes account for 42.2% of those deaths. If we simply assume that this share holds true in non-reporting states, we get to a national share of 42.2% (i.e., identical to the share in reporting states).
* Estimate 3 (52.5%): This estimate excludes New York State, which is an outlier in terms of its reported share of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. A number of policymakers in New York have alleged that nursing home facilities in that state have been underreporting their COVID-19 fatality figures, possibly because New York State counts as hospital deaths those of nursing home residents who die in a hospital. It could also be that the high number of non-long-term care deaths in New York explain the lower percentage (i.e., a much larger denominator).
Similar figures outside the U.S.
The U.S. is not an outlier in terms of its nursing home-related COVID-19 fatalities. A study by researchers at the International Long Term Care Policy Network of fatalities in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom found that 40.8 percent of reported COVID-19 fatalities took place in nursing homes. There are idiosyncrasies in the way that U.S. states and other countries report nursing home fatalities; we will update this article when improved reconciliation becomes feasible.
Reorienting the COVID-19 policy response
The policy implications of these figures are significant, and suggest substantial flaws in the way that we have managed the COVID-19 pandemic. Much more attention must be paid to the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in nursing homes, especially through nursing home staff who work at multiple facilities. Nursing homes must use best practices for testing and cleanliness. On the flip side, it would appear that elderly individuals who do not live in nursing homes may be at a somewhat lower, while still significant, risk for hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. States and localities should consider reorienting their policy responses away from younger and healthier people, and toward the elderly, and especially elderly individuals living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 2128738
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

The Most Important Coronavirus Statistic: 42% Of U.S. Deaths Are From 0.6% Of The Population

Postby smix » Sat May 30, 2020 8:50 pm

The Most Important Coronavirus Statistic: 42% Of U.S. Deaths Are From 0.6% Of The Population
Forbes

URL: https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothec ... eaths/amp/
Category: Politics
Published: May 26, 2020

Description: Americans are vigorously debating the merits of continuing to lock down the U.S. economy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A single statistic may hold the key to resolving this debate: the astounding share of deaths occurring in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities: The #1 COVID problem
2.1 million Americans, representing 0.62% of the U.S. population, reside in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. (Nursing homes are residences for seniors needing help with activities of daily living, such as taking a shower or getting dressed, who also require 24/7 medical supervision; assisted living facilities are designed for seniors who need help with activities of daily living, but don’t require full-time on-site medical supervision.) According to an analysis that Gregg Girvan and I conducted for the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, as of May 22, in the 43 states that currently report such figures, an astounding 42% of all COVID-19 deaths have taken place in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. (Among states reporting their death totals, 42% of COVID deaths have taken place in long-term care facilities; we also estimate the share as 42% for the full U.S. population, based on incorporating the demographics of the non-reporting states.) Let that sink in: 42% of all COVID-19 deaths are taking place in facilities that house 0.62% of the U.S. population. And 42% could be an undercount. States like New York exclude from their nursing home death tallies those who die in a hospital, even if they were originally infected in a long-term care facility. Outside of New York, more than half of all deaths from COVID-19 are of residents in long-term care facilities.
70% of COVID-19 deaths in Ohio, 69% in Pennsylvania
Prior to last week, Ohio reported that 41% of COVID deaths were taking place in long-term care facilities. But updated disclosures last Friday, taking deaths prior to April 15 into account, upped that share to 70%. In Minnesota, 81% of all COVID-19 deaths are of nursing home and residential care home residents. The region from the eastern seaboard from Virginia to New Hampshire has been especially hard-hit.
Nearly one-tenth of all New Jersey long-term care residents have died from COVID-19
Another way to cut the data is to look at nursing home and assisted living facility deaths as a share of the population that lives in those facilities. On that basis, three states stand out in the negative direction: New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. In Massachusetts and Connecticut, COVID deaths per 10,000 nursing home and assisted living facility residents were 703 and 827, respectively. In New Jersey, nearly 10 percent of all long-term care facility residents—954 in 10,000—have died from the novel coronavirus. The tragedy is that it didn’t have to be this way. On March 17, as the pandemic was just beginning to accelerate, Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis warned that “even some so-called mild or common-cold-type coronaviruses have been known for decades [to] have case fatality rates as high as 8% when they infect people in nursing homes.” Ioannidis was ignored.
New York, New Jersey, Michigan forced nursing homes to accept infected patients
Instead, states like New York, New Jersey, and Michigan actually ordered nursing homes to accept patients with active COVID-19 infections who were being discharged from hospitals. The most charitable interpretation of these orders is that they were designed to ensure that states would not overcrowd their ICUs. But well after hospitalizations peaked, governors like New York’s Andrew Cuomo were doubling down on their mandates. As recently as April 23, Cuomo declared that nursing homes “don’t have a right to object” to accepting elderly patients with active COVID infections. “That is the rule and that is the regulation and they have to comply with that.” Only on May 10—after the deaths of nearly 3,000 New York residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities—did Cuomo stand down and partially rescind his order. Cuomo’s change of heart came too late for Maria Porteus. Her father, Carlos Gallegos, died of COVID-19 in a Long Island nursing home in April that adhered to Cuomo’s mandate. “It’s a slap in the face,” she said, “because he’s not taking responsibility for what happened to my father and so many others.”
Why Florida has performed better with vulnerable seniors
Contrast the decisions by governors like Cuomo with those of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. In Florida, all nursing home workers were required to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering a facility. On March 15, before most states had locked down, DeSantis signed an executive order that banned nursing home visitations from friends and family, and also banned hospitals from discharging SARS-CoV-2-infected patients into long-term care facilities. “Every day on these calls [with hospitals], I would hear the same comments and questions around, ‘We need to get these individuals returned back to the nursing home,’” said Mary Mayhew, who runs Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration. “We drew a hard line early on. I said repeatedly to the hospital, to the CEOs, to the discharge planners, to the chief medical officers, ‘I understand that for 20 years it’s been ingrained, especially through Medicare reimbursement policy, to get individuals in and out. That is not our focus today. I’m not going to send anyone back to a nursing home who has the slightest risk of being positive.’ What we said constantly is let’s not have two cases become 20 or five become 50. If you don’t manage this individual as you return them back, you will have far more being transferred back to the hospital.” Florida also prioritized long-term care facilities for personal protective equipment, or PPE, with the understanding that it was just as important, if not more so, to protect workers at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. “If I can send PPE to the nursing homes, and they can prevent an outbreak there, that’s going to do more to lower the burden on hospitals than me just sending them another 500,000 N95 masks,” said DeSantis.
Learning from Florida’s example
While it is too late for thousands of nursing home residents who have already died, there is still time to protect the millions who remain, by learning from Florida’s example.
- First, every state that has mandated that nursing homes accept actively infected COVID-19 patients should immediately rescind and reverse that mandate.
- Second, as Florida has done, we must restrict visits to nursing homes by family and friends for at least the next several months, with the possible exception of those who can prove that they are not actively infected with the novel coronavirus.
- Third, we must prioritize nursing homes and assisted living facilities for personal protective equipment, at an at least equal level of priority as hospitals and other first responders.
- Fourth, we must test all nursing home workers and residents for active infections, using RT-PCR tests and other FDA-authorized methods of detection.
- Fifth, we must strive wherever possible to ensure that nursing home staff are working at a single facility; it is likely that staff working at multiple facilities are helping to spread the infection. Infected nursing home workers and residents should be quarantined at an off-campus facility. States could contract with now-empty hotels to assist with this process.
Sixth, the seven states that thus far have refused to report COVID nursing home deaths—Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Michigan, and Vermont—need to start reporting their death tolls in long-term care facilities. The federal government has instituted such a requirement for nursing home deaths occurring after May 5, but as Ohio teaches us, it is also important to get the data from the previous several months.
Michigan, in particular, has had a significant outbreak of COVID-19, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently extended the state’s economic lockdown through June 12. Transparency into fatalities at long-term care centers in Michigan is essential for assessing the wisdom of her policy.
The optimistic take: Those outside of nursing homes are at lower risk
There is one silver lining—or perhaps bronze lining—to the COVID long-term care tragedy. The fact that nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities means that the 99.4 percent of the country that doesn’t live in those places is roughly half as likely to die of the disease than we previously thought. Many European countries have struggled with the same nursing home problems that we have. But based on the mounting evidence that serious illness from COVID-19 is concentrated in the elderly, Switzerland and Germany have reopened their primary and secondary schools. Sweden, for the most part, never closed them to begin with. Germany has kept most of its factories in operation, and Sweden’s restaurants remain open. All of these countries have stable-to-declining rates of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The results in these countries should give us increased confidence that measured steps to reopen the economy can work here. State governments bear much more of the responsibility for the depth of the COVID-19 pandemic than many Americans appreciate. But that also means that states have the opportunity to learn from their own mistakes and do the right thing: by protecting vulnerable seniors, and letting millions of Americans get back to work.
* * *
UPDATE 1: Utah and Kansas have begun reporting nursing home fatalities statewide, which brought our estimate of fatality share from 43% to 42%. The maps and text have been updated to reflect this new information.
UPDATE 2: A spokesman for Alaska Gov. Jeff Turner stated that Alaska has no COVID-19 deaths to report from nursing homes or assisted living facilities. A spokeswoman for the Wyoming Department of Health stated that Wyoming has experienced 4 such fatalities out of a total of 14 COVID-19 deaths. The maps and text have been updated to reflect this information.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 2128738
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Will New Yorkers Let Andrew Cuomo Get Away With Killing Grandmas Just Because He’s A Democrat?

Postby smix » Thu Feb 04, 2021 4:46 pm

Will New Yorkers Let Andrew Cuomo Get Away With Killing Grandmas Just Because He’s A Democrat?
The Federalist

URL: https://thefederalist.com/2021/02/03/wi ... -democrat/
Category: Politics
Published: February 3, 2021

Description: Typically, evidence that a politician was personally responsible for thousands of deaths would be a career-ender. But Cuomo doesn’t think the normal rules of politics apply to him.
The coronavirus pandemic was kind to Andrew Cuomo. The New York governor has a well-earned reputation as something of a bare-fisted political thug in Albany but an event that turned out to be a disaster for President Donald Trump and most Americans has been a political windfall for Cuomo. Or at least it was until last week, when New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a report concluding Cuomo’s administration had undercounted the number of coronavirus deaths of nursing home patients by nearly 4,000. The real death total was far higher than Cuomo had claimed. Within hours of the report being issued, the state Health Department released previously unpublished records acknowledging that the real number was 12,743, not 8,740 as posted by the state’s website only hours earlier. All of this illustrates the cost of an avoidable error: a March 25, 2020, New York state order handed down by Cuomo and his health department ordered nursing homes to accept recovering coronavirus patients despite the risk to other residents. Typically, evidence that a politician was personally responsible for thousands of deaths would be a career-ender. But Cuomo doesn’t think the normal rules of politics apply to him. Or, at least that’s the only explanation for his performance at a Friday press conference in which he dismissed the report. Just as he did last spring when first confronted with the awful results of his misguided order, he deflected responsibility and demonstrated what can only be described as callous indifference. “Who cares [if they] died in a hospital. Died in a nursing home. They died,” Cuomo said, as if the fact that this higher total is of no importance. He then compared the death of his father Mario of heart disease to those who were felled by the virus because of his mistake. As he has in the past, rather than accept responsibility, Cuomo blamed it all on the Trump administration. Yet at no point did Washington ever mandate that states act as Cuomo did. But to Cuomo, the effort to hold him accountable is just a personally “cruel” and partisan “political attack.” But now there’s no denying that state officials have been doing everything they could to cover up the extent of the catastrophe. The pertinent question is not so much why Cuomo still believes he’s invulnerable to criticism for his role in killing so many people but how he has been able to successfully portray himself as a COVID hero even as proof of his blunder has been in plain sight for months. The answer is that with little hope of serious political opposition at home — Cuomo appears bent on running for a fourth term as the governor of deep-blue New York in 2022 — and with the mainstream media not only refusing to highlight his role in so many deaths but actively promoting the idea that he was the ideal COVID crisis leader, Cuomo has every reason to believe that he can say “who cares?” to the many bereaved families and get away with it. The same applies to the news that nine key state health officials have recently resigned in protest over Cuomo’s scorn for health “experts,” which the governor has dismissed in the same manner. As the pandemic spread, virtually every level of government across the globe wound up being exposed to criticism for bad judgment and mismanagement or, as in Trump’s case, inconsistent and often counterproductive messaging. Yet Cuomo saw the coronavirus as a golden opportunity. In the first months of the crisis, his daily press conferences about the situation were treated by the press as “must-see TV,” with his rambling comments on his family mixed with those about efforts to deal with the outbreak. His occasional touches of humanity when speaking of the need to protect parents or grandparents who were most at risk from the contagion helped make the Cuomo pressers useful for a panic-driving media. His real edge, however, was that he provided a Democratic alternative to Trump on the pandemic that was not being provided by Joe Biden — the party’s then presumptive presidential nominee who had already gone into virtual hiding. Cuomo’s younger brother Chris shamelessly used his daily 10 p.m. show on CNN to hype his brother’s supposedly sage conduct. Their transparently partisan prime-time comic exchanges would have embarrassed their far more serious father, Mario, but since anointing the elder Cuomo brother an example of good pandemic leadership served the partisan interests of a network dedicated to defeating Trump, their hijinks continued. Despite the efforts of many to shine a light on Cuomo’s role in nursing home deaths, the leftist media blackout of that discussion turned the governor into a hero, earning Cuomo a self-reverential book about his allegedly great crisis leadership, as well as a special Emmy Award for what was described as his “masterful” COVID-19 briefings. That someone with such a tarnished record on the issue could be celebrated in this manner is inexplicable outside of the context of 2020 politics. Both the corporate media and leftist popular culture leaders dedicated themselves to blaming Trump for every COVID-19 death. Indeed, even as Cuomo’s pandemic blunders were downplayed by the legacy media, pro-Trump governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis were attacked despite their own records being at least as good if not better than Cuomo’s. Some are calling for Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean to run against Cuomo next year as a Republican. Dean, whose in-laws died in conjunction with Cuomo’s nursing home order, has been a loud and consistent voice speaking out on behalf of the victims as well as demanding accountability from Cuomo. It remains to be seen, however, whether Dean will run, or if the spotlight her candidacy would place on Cuomo’s appalling record would make a difference in a state where the GOP is effectively dead. Until proven otherwise, it appears that Cuomo will get away with his arrogant refusal to be held responsible for thousands of unnecessary deaths. That this is the case speaks volumes not only about his lack of conscience but of the corrupt nature of the media that helped this happen.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 2128738
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Covid and Nursing Home Deaths: Case for Intentional Genocide

Postby smix » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:30 pm

Covid and Nursing Home Deaths: Case for Intentional Genocide
Sarah Westall

URL: https://sarahwestall.com/covid-and-nurs ... -genocide/
Category: Politics
Published: January 10, 2021

Description: A discussion of the genocidal potential for the Covid pandemic would not be complete without a hard look at its impact on the elderly. While Covid is reported to be far more dangerous for the aged, its impact on nursing home patients and the decisions leading up to the placement of Covid patients in these homes must be thoroughly dissected. According to recent reports, somewhere between 30-50% of Covid deaths took place in nursing homes. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s much discussed decision to place Covid patients into these facilities was preceded by statements from him acknowledging the peril posed by Covid spread in these homes. In an interview he conducted on March 10 with Jake Tapper, Cuomo stated, “that’s my nightmare and that’s where you’re going to see the pain and the damage from this virus. Senior citizen homes, nursing homes, congregant senior facilities. That is my nightmare. We’ve taken steps, some drastic steps in this area, in New Rochelle, we’re talking about. We said no visitors in a nursing home.” Cuomo went on to say, “All you need is 9-year-old Johnny to visit his grandmother in a nursing home, give her a kiss, and you can be off to the races. That’s my fear. That population in those congregate facilities. That is really what we have to watch.” However, on March 25, a scant two weeks later, Cuomo signed his infamous order directing nursing homes to accept “stable” Covid patients without testing them. Let that sink in for a moment. Covid patients who were known to have had the virus but not tested to see if they still had the virus were put into homes known to be a Petri dish for contagion. As a result, Covid spread through these populations just as Cuomo had predicted, “like fire through dry grass.” As of December 28, 2020, “A USA TODAY Network New York calculation of the confirmed and presumed deaths among New York nursing home residents according to the state COVID tracker found that the total….was more than 7,600…” This statistic is misleading, however, as it does not include the numbers of nursing home patients who were transferred to and died in hospital. Those numbers are unpublished. The State of New York rushed to exonerate Cuomo from culpability. A report issued by State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker insisted that the spread of the disease in nursing homes could be attributed to visitors, not to the stated policy of placing Covid patients in the homes. That policy was subsequently repealed. Other states have also reported significant numbers of nursing home deaths from Covid. As reported in Healthline,
…Researchers reported that these facilities accounted for 63 percent of all COVID-19 fatalities in Massachusetts. They added that nursing homes also accounted for 81 percent of COVID-19 deaths in both Minnesota and Rhode Island at the time as well as 71 percent in Connecticut and 70 percent in New Hampshire. In another 22 states, long-term care facilities accounted for more than half of all COVID-19 fatalities.

Another item of concern reveals that nursing home residents are dying due to lack of care rather than from the virus during this “public health emergency.” As reported in the Associated Press, nursing home residents are now dying of dehydration and malnutrition, rather than from Covid, as homes are reportedly overwhelmed by the emergency. As the article states, “As more than 90,000 of the nation’s long-term care residents have died in a pandemic that has pushed staffs to the limit, advocates for the elderly say a tandem wave of death separate from the virus has quietly claimed tens of thousands more, often because overburdened workers haven’t been able to give them the care they need.” The article goes on to report that “A nursing home expert who analyzed data from the country’s 15,000 facilities for The Associated Press estimates that for every two COVID-19 victims in long-term care, there is another who died prematurely of other causes. Those ‘excess deaths’ beyond the normal rate of fatalities in nursing homes could total more than 40,000 since March.” All of this would be simply tragic were it not for the fact that elderly people are already being targeted by government authorized guardianship programs as well as by euthanasia laws. The shocking legal abuses which have afflicted the elderly in these programs are now getting some mainstream coverage, though the articles generally posit that the problems are a result of a few “bad apple” guardians, rather than any concerted and systematic effort by the state to seize the assets and destroy the lives of those under guardianship. One attorney, Ken Ditkowsky of Illinois, who was forcibly retired from the practice of law after over 50 years due to his attempts to protect the rights of a woman under guardianship, disputes this perception. “This is a holocaust on the elderly,” declares Ditkowsky. He has also been tracking the reports of nursing home Covid deaths, which he states further buttresses the argument that the elderly are on the chopping block. A recent report from an advocate for guardianship reform, Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, reveals the intertwining nature of guardianship and Covid. In a report dated 1/09/2021, Kennedy writes,
My 85-year-old mother is crying in the other room because she longs to hear her 92-year-old sister Lillie’s voice. They are the last two siblings left of eight. Lillie is the matriarch of a family with upwards of fifty nieces and nephews. ALL of them have been blocked from even speaking with her for over four years after she was abducted by an improperly-appointed guardian and her own court-appointed attorney. Yesterday, we found out that the assisted living facility where Lillie has been in lockdown has multiple COVID-19 cases. When we called the local sheriff for a welfare check, the officer said he could not share any information stating that it violates HIPAA laws. We were told to contact the guardian who is not returning our calls and has unchecked power under current law. I called the State Ombudsman and his power seems to still be limited. No agency at the state or federal level seems to have the ability or the will to help. Last week, my mother filed yet another motion for visitation (with an emphasis on telephonic and video). Yesterday, the filing was returned indicating that the division had to be changed to Probate (versus Guardianship). Does this mean Aunt Lillie has died and no one told us?

A number of states have scrambled to provide legal immunity to nursing homes. According to an article in the ABA, “At least 26 states, including Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and New York, have implemented immunity provisions protecting long-term care facilities and other health care providers from civil negligence lawsuits arising from the COVID-19 pandemic—including decisions resulting from resource or staffing shortages.” Nevertheless, the article goes on to note that “There’s no comprehensive database of case filings. But a COVID-19 complaint tracker posted on the website of the law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth shows 55 wrongful death lawsuits filed against long-term care facilities around the country as of early September. More suits are on the way, with plaintiffs attorneys in Florida, Massachusetts and other states that have mandatory presuit screening periods saying they are investigating and preparing to file cases.” Euthanasia laws, or assisted suicide laws, also target the elderly and disabled. A number of states in the US have now passed these laws, including California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. A New Jersey law is currently under appeal. A number of other states are currently considering the passage of assisted suicide legislation. Add to the mix the existence of the “impostor” or “doppelganger” pharmaceuticals, packaged as your usual antibiotic or anti-anxiety medication or even potentially your Covid cure—these are black project pharmaceuticals which are known to cause cardiac arrest in the unsuspecting targets—and you have a recipe for even more deaths of vulnerable populations.

User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 2128738
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes prompt lawsuits and questions about who's responsible

Postby smix » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:51 pm

Coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes prompt lawsuits and questions about who's responsible
ABA Journal

URL: https://www.abajournal.com/magazine/art ... esponsible
Category: Legal
Published: October 1, 2020

Description: In mid-April, Faith Heimbrodt got a call from the Bria Health Services nursing home in Geneva, Illinois, saying her mother, Carol Orlando, was not in good health. She immediately feared COVID-19. But she says facility staff insisted her 79-year-old mother didn’t show symptoms of the virus, and that her illness likely was due to her advanced dementia. Alarmed, she got permission to visit her mother, even though the facility had been on lockdown since March. Heimbrodt, who has five children at home and suffers from multiple sclerosis, went wearing a gown, respirator and face shield, but she was shocked to see staff and residents without masks. A desperate-looking certified nursing assistant asked how she got her respirator, so she gave it to him. Her mother’s room was filthy, with dirty diapers on the floor. Her roommate was coughing, unmasked, in the adjoining bed, with no room divider. Orlando looked thin and dehydrated, her eyes sunken and her mouth covered with sores. Heimbrodt squeezed her mother’s hand and leaned in close, wanting but not daring to lift her face shield and kiss her. She left sooner than she planned, nervous about the risk of exposure to the virus. A week later, Heimbrodt got a call that her mother was dead. She arranged for a private autopsy, but the company called back to say they couldn’t do it because Orlando’s body bag was labeled “COVID.” She found out a nursing home staffer had written that on the bag because she believed Orlando had the virus—even though the facility never tested her and denied she had it. Orlando, whom the local coroner later determined had the virus, was one of many Bria residents who died from COVID-19. As of early September, the state of Illinois reported 136 Bria residents and staff members had tested positive for COVID-19, and 30 people there had died from it. In early June, the Chicago law firm Levin & Perconti filed a lawsuit against Bria on Heimbrodt’s behalf, claiming the facility was grossly negligent and engaged in willful and wanton conduct by failing to take the necessary steps to protect Orlando from the virus and provide adequate care once she got it. The suit, filed in Kane County Circuit Court, alleges Bria did not have enough staff to adequately care for residents and failed to have staff wear personal protective equipment or undergo COVID-19 tests to prevent virus transmission to residents. It cites both the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and common law tort theories. “I think about my mother dying alone,” Heimbrodt says, noting Orlando had trained to become a CNA in middle age because of the poor care her own mother had received in a nursing home. “I hope my lawsuit and others will hold these nursing homes accountable.” Natalie Bauer Luce, a Bria spokeswoman, says Heimbrodt’s statements to the ABA Journal about the conditions at Bria and the allegations in her lawsuit are unfounded. Luce says lawsuits like this one “send a dangerous message … to the health care heroes on the front lines that their efforts to save lives will be used against them by personal injury lawyers seeking to profit by taking advantage of the global pandemic.”
Suits piling up nationally
Heimbrodt’s case is one of a growing number of negligence suits being filed across the country against nursing homes and other long-term care facilities by families whose relatives died from the coronavirus while living in such facilities. These cases rely on state nursing home resident protection statutes and/or common law tort theories. There’s no comprehensive database of case filings. But a COVID-19 complaint tracker posted on the website of the law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth shows 55 wrongful death lawsuits filed against long-term care facilities around the country as of early September. More suits are on the way, with plaintiffs attorneys in Florida, Massachusetts and other states that have mandatory presuit screening periods saying they are investigating and preparing to file cases. Whether it’s a flood or a moderate flow, these cases will present unprecedented questions for judges, juries and arbitrators. They will have to decide whether and how to apportion responsibility for the deaths of the nation’s most medically vulnerable population among long-term care operators who were scrambling in the midst of the chaos and confusion during the worst public health emergency in a century. “It will be really interesting to see how well the courts are able to balance the nuances of who’s really to blame at a facility when, nationally, we didn’t have a lot of information about the virus, and there weren’t a lot of resources,” says David Grabowski, a health care policy professor at Harvard Medical School who studies long-term care. “That’s not to say there aren’t bad apples that deserve to be held accountable.” More than 51,000 of the nation’s 1.4 million nursing home residents, who generally are elderly and/or disabled, have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of this year, accounting for a large share of the more than 188,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States as of early September, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and a New York Times database. Over 750 nursing home employees spread across the 15,000 federally certified nursing homes also have died from the virus, and plaintiffs lawyers say they’re getting requests from their families to explore lawsuits. But those cases generally must be handled through state workers’ compensation systems, which tightly cap death benefits. In most cases filed so far on behalf of residents, the plaintiffs say nursing home staff did not disclose timely truthful information to them about COVID-19 cases in the facility, infection control procedures, and the health status and care of their relatives before they died. Many still haven’t been able to obtain their relatives’ medical records even months after their deaths. A lawsuit is the only way to piece together the stories, their attorneys say. But plaintiffs and their attorneys face formidable obstacles in bringing these cases. At least 26 states, including Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and New York, have implemented immunity provisions protecting long-term care facilities and other health care providers from civil negligence lawsuits arising from the COVID-19 pandemic—including decisions resulting from resource or staffing shortages. They provide immunity for acts or omissions that happened after state public emergency orders were issued in March, but not before. Those measures generally bar claims for standard negligence, only allowing claims for harder-to-prove gross negligence, willful misconduct or fraud. Gross negligence typically requires demonstrating deliberate or reckless disregard for a resident’s health and safety, which is a higher standard than simply showing the facility did not follow the common standard of care. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is pushing for broad immunity provisions covering all states, though the fate of that proposal is uncertain because Democrats are strongly opposed. The Safe to Work Act, sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, would give nursing homes and other businesses five years of legal protection if they make “reasonable efforts” to comply with government standards to protect residents, staff and others from the coronavirus. It would allow any defendant to remove a COVID-19 exposure lawsuit to federal court. Lawsuits would be limited to allegations of gross negligence or willful misconduct, which could not include acts or omissions resulting from resource or staffing shortages. Steven Levin, who’s bringing the Carol Orlando case, says he will overcome the immunity barrier in Illinois and other states by initially proceeding against “the worst actors, with a poor regulatory history and no infection-control procedures in place, that didn’t tell the truth to families and forced employees to come to work when they were sick with COVID-19.” Beyond that, plaintiffs attorneys acknowledge it will be challenging to prove that a nursing home’s conduct, such as failure to establish proper infection control procedures like masking of staff and isolation of residents testing positive for COVID-19, directly caused a resident to become infected and die. “These won’t be easy suits,” says Levin, whose firm has received requests from more than 100 families to explore litigation. “The nursing home might say, ‘A family member brought the virus into the facility, and it spread like wildfire. How could anyone have done anything?’ We’ll show they could have done things to be better prepared.” Defense attorneys will plausibly argue that good-faith efforts by nursing homes were hampered by delayed or faulty policy guidance from state and federal agencies and by the nationwide shortage of personal protection equipment and coronavirus test kits. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services didn’t order nursing homes to restrict visitors and communal activities until March 13. The timeline of events in these cases will be key. “Nursing home administrators were screaming for PPE, and they weren’t getting it,” says Kelly Giampa, an attorney at Lindsay Hart in Portland, Oregon, who represents Healthcare at Foster Creek, which has been sued by six families over COVID-19 deaths. “The cases will be very fact-specific. What was the availability of PPE, and what efforts were made to get it?” Plus, many or most of these cases ultimately will be handled through arbitration because nursing homes increasingly require residents and their families to sign mandatory arbitration agreements. Plaintiffs attorneys sometimes can nullify such agreements by, for instance, showing that the relative who signed lacked power of attorney for the resident. But they say they’d much rather take these cases to juries. Some of the facilities with the largest COVID-19 outbreaks and death totals already have been hit with lawsuits. They include Healthcare at Foster Creek, which was shut down by the state in early May and had 34 of its residents die from the virus; Hollywood Premier Healthcare Center in Los Angeles, where at least 16 residents died from the virus and the National Guard was deployed to help with the crisis; and the Linden Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Brooklyn, New York, where an estimated 23 residents died from COVID-19 and where dead bodies were held for days in “overflow rooms” cooled only by air conditioners. The complaints in these and other cases sometimes stress the facilities’ extensive histories of violations of state and federal health and safety rules. That will be a battleground, because courts often rule that such evidence is irrelevant and inadmissible, says Linda Clark, a partner at Barclay Damon in Albany, New York. Plaintiffs attorneys will press hard to admit evidence of a facility’s prior troubled history to show it was a “ticking time bomb,” strengthening their gross negligence claim, says plaintiffs attorney David Hoey of Hoey Law in North Reading, Massachusetts, where the governor signed an immunity order allowing only claims of gross negligence. The nursing home industry says that without strong immunity measures in every state, the number of lawsuits will threaten the industry’s survival. “More needs to be done to afford appropriate legal protection to those that are working hard to prevent and contain this virus,” says Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. “We encourage states and the federal government to take action to extend immunity provisions to the long-term care providers and other health care sectors. “Long-term care workers and centers are on the front line of this pandemic response, and it is critical that states provide the necessary liability protection staff, and providers need to provide care during this difficult time without fear of reprisal,” he adds. Attorneys experienced in bringing nursing home cases predict only the worst offenders will be targeted.
Who’s to blame?
Up until now, most nursing home liability cases have focused on common though potentially fatal lapses in care such as failure to prevent falls or pressure sores. These cases are based on negligence law and state nursing home resident protection statutes modeled on the federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. They sometimes yield seven-figure awards, with punitive damages permitted in some states. Some states cap noneconomic damages. In most cases, family members visiting relatives are the ones who identify care problems. But with nursing homes closed to visitors since March, there’s no one other than facility staff regularly monitoring residents’ care. That has led to a steep drop-off in the usual types of nursing home negligence claims, plaintiffs attorneys say. “Because the residents’ kids can’t enter the facilities, those injuries aren’t being reported, and that’s deeply disturbing,” says Michael Brevda, a partner at the Senior Justice Law Firm in Boca Raton, Florida. Thus, plaintiffs will have to rely, to an unusual extent, on medical records as well as accounts from current and former nursing home employees, some of whom have been speaking to the news media and plaintiffs attorneys about conditions inside the facilities. For instance, Alexander Clem, an attorney at Morgan & Morgan in Orlando, Florida, is preparing a case against the Suwannee Health and Rehabilitation Center in Live Oak based in part on information provided by a former CNA at the facility. She has told news media outlets that managers concealed residents’ fevers by putting ice packs on their heads to avoid having to report COVID-19 cases and discouraged staff from getting tested. At least 19 residents have died from the virus. “When you have a scenario like that where there is substantial evidence that management of a facility took action to cover up incidence of COVID, I don’t think a jury or arbitration panel will ever give them a pass on liability,” says Clem, whose state has not established immunity for nursing homes. Suwannee did not return a call seeking comment. Some observers predict that evidence of COVID-19 cover-ups will emerge at other facilities, too. They say such claims, if proved, will rise to the level of willful misconduct and pierce state immunity provisions. Dr. Michael Wasserman, president of the California Association of Long-Term Care Medicine and medical director at the Eisenberg Village nursing home in Reseda, California, says he’s talked to nursing home physicians and managers who sought to test staff or residents for the virus but were overruled by administrators. One was fired and is planning to sue. “So many of my colleagues wouldn’t go public with their stories of management’s resistance to testing, but I think ultimately these stories will come out in lawsuits,” he says. Defense attorney Giampa says she’s not worried about what employees say. “In every case, we have staff members who say, ‘We were short-staffed, I complained about this and that,’” she says. “You have to drill down and see how accurate it is.”
Key strategy qualifiers
Even if a facility didn’t engage in a cover-up, the chronology of its actions to prevent or minimize the spread of the virus will be crucial, Clem says. It’s one thing if a resident contracted COVID-19 in mid-February, after the first nursing home outbreak was suspected in Washington state but the risk of asymptomatic transmission wasn’t widely known. It’s quite different if facility management failed to implement strict measures by mid-March. “At that point, management damn sure knew this was a crisis of pandemic proportions,” Clem says. “Then, what were you doing to prevent onset of the virus? And once you became aware of a case, what did you do?” Plaintiffs attorneys say most of the COVID-19 cases coming to them involve for-profit nursing homes, which they believe are more likely than not-for-profit operators to skimp on staffing to boost profits, and their complex ownership structures make attorney investigations difficult. The nursing home industry blames low Medicaid payment rates and a shortage of willing and qualified direct care workers for the chronic understaffing. A major theme in the COVID-19 lawsuits filed so far is that families are angry about what they see as a lack of transparency and honesty by nursing homes in the days leading up to their loved one’s death. That’s a big part of a lawsuit filed in mid-May by the Portland firm Richardson Wright against Healthcare at Foster Creek, and amended in June to add five more families of deceased residents as plaintiffs. Giampa, who’s representing Foster Creek, declined to comment specifically on the Foster Creek lawsuit. Giampa predicts COVID-19 nursing home liability cases will be unusually tough and emotional, drawing on the intense feelings of judges, jurors and arbitrators about their own experiences during this unprecedented period of national turmoil. “COVID has impacted everyone, and whether these cases get tried in six months or four years, people on our juries are not going to forget what this time was like,” she says. “They will remember that these caregivers showed up for work, risking infection to themselves and their families, and doing the best they could every day.” But personal experiences could cut the other way, too. “Jurors will remember all the actions and sacrifices they made in their private lives, wearing masks, staying home and disinfecting food,” Brevda says. “It will enrage them that nursing homes failed to similarly follow infection protocols.”
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 2128738
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Previous

  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to Assisted Living Facilities & Nursing Homes


Mobile Device
  • 1
  • FREE CLASSIFIED ADS
    Free Classified Ads
    There are 3 ways to advertise - your choice: you can place free ads in a forum topic, in the classified display ads section, or you may start your own free blog. Please select the appropriate category and forum for the ad content before you post. Do not spam.
    Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. Deal at your own risk and peril.
  • Advertisement