Nursing Home Infection Control Problems Amid Coronavirus Pandemic Result in Fines for Dozens of Maryland Facilities
While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit the elderly particularly hard, it appears infection control failures may have caused or contributed to many nursing home coronavirus problems nationwide.
Dozens of Maryland nursing homes have recently been fined for failing to make adequate efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection, highlighting a potential reason why widespread problems have emerged at certain facilities, while others have kept outbreaks under control.
According to a report published this week by The Baltimore Sun, an analysis of state inspection records found at least 64 facilities throughout the state have been cited for failing to take sufficient infection control measures to protect residents. At least ten facilities have been hit with heavy fines, ranging from $70,000 to $380,000, according to the report.
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The findings come just a week after The Washington Post highlighted nursing home coronavirus problems that resulted in six figure fines for three Maryland facilities, after they failed to isolate potentially contagious residents.
Collingswood Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center was fined $275,000, Potomac Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center was fined $120,000, and Kensington Healthcare Center was fined $294,000 following COVID-19 surveys and investigations conducted by state inspectors.
However, the Baltimore Sun indicates the Sagepoint Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Charles County received the largest fine to date, $380,000, following the deaths of at least 37 people due to COVID-19. It is reportedly the largest fine ever issued by the state.
According to the Sun’s report, another 45 facilities received “minor” fines, because they did not complete mandatory coronavirus testing, or failed to provide adequate reporting records to the state.
The inspections included all 226 state certified nursing homes in Maryland, with more than 90 of those being conducted since July 21.
According to preliminary data released in August by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an estimated 188,954 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported at nursing and long term care facilities across the United States, resulting in over 48,000 fatalities.
A CMS report in early June 2020 indicated more than one-quarter of all coronavirus deaths nationwide occurred in nursing home facilities.
Federal investigators are continuing to explore the possibility of nursing home neglect playing a role in the COVID-19 outbreak, which was first detected in a nursing home in Washington State that became the epicenter for the U.S. pandemic. Similar to the violations found in Maryland nursing homes and other around the nation, investigators stated the nursing home failed to respond to the outbreak adequately, placing residents in jeopardy of illness and death.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports there are currently more than 6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the U.S., which have resulted in an estimated 186,000 fatalities.
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