When a loved one enters a nursing home facility, the expectation is that they will receive better care than they are able to receive at home. You trust that their 24-hour facility will do all in its power to provide adequate care that meets – if not exceeds – state and federal regulations that are designed to protect the vulnerable. This includes being prepared and able to treat patients during unexpected, emergency situations.
Unfortunately, when the coronavirus COVID-19 reached the United States in early 2020, many of our nation’s nursing home and long-term care facilities were not prepared for such a deadly outbreak. Tragically, it appears that regulatory violations caused the infection rate to needlessly climb among vulnerable populations, and lives were lost as the virus spread among patients and staff.
Contact a lawyer about COVID-19 in your nursing home
If your loved one died from COVID-19 while in the care of a nursing home facility that failed to meet mandatory safety standards, you may have a potential claim. Contact Motley Rice nursing home abuse lawyer Kimberly Barone Baden for more information by completing this webform or calling 843.216.9265.
Life Care Center of Kirkland
Washington State was one of the first COVID-19 clusters in the country, with one particular facility accounting for a large number of the state’s cases, the Life Care Center of Kirkland. On March 18, 2020, a CDC report linked 129 cases to the nursing home, including 81 residents, 34 workers and 14 visitors, including at least 37 deaths.
After inspecting the nursing home, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued more than $600,000 in fines upon finding “serious deficiencies to be widespread and constituting in Immediate Jeopardy to resident health or safety.” The facility lacked an infection control surveillance program, CMS noted, and failed to forward reports to the State Department of Health in a timely manner, among other violations.
The Life Care Center of Kirkland’s most recent inspection prior to COVID-19 resulted in 18 health citations, public Medicare records show, higher than the national average of 8.2. The facility was also ordered to pay two federal penalties between 2017 and 2019. Penalties are issued in response to serious citations and/or failure to correct a citation for an extended period of time. The nursing home has until September 2020 to correct its most recent violations or risk losing federal funding.
A nationwide problem
While Life Care Center of Kirkland was the first nursing home to make national headlines related to the virus, COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported at nursing homes throughout the country, including in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Minnesota and California, among others.
To compare nursing homes and review the quality of the staff and care at your loved one’s facility, visit Medicare.gov. If you suspect your loved one is in danger or that their facility isn’t following best practices, report your concerns to the Administrator or Director of Nursing of their facility. If the issue isn’t resolved, consider contacting the licensing agency that oversees nursing homes in your state, your state Ombudsman or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to file a complaint.
Our experience Motley Rice medical lawyers have 20 years of experience litigating against nursing homes across the country. We seek to hold negligible nursing home facilities accountable for endangering residents, our most defenseless members of our society. Read more about our experience.