Another Blow to Nursing Home Hit Hard by COVID-19

Washington's Life Care Center fined $611K for inadequate care, other issues
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2020 10:16 AM CDT
Another Blow to Nursing Home Hit Hard by COVID-19
The entrance to Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., is pictured on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A Seattle-area nursing home linked to perhaps the first coronavirus death in the US, along with dozens more, is facing fines of more than $600,000. Federal and state inspectors uncovered numerous failures at Life Care Center of Kirkland, where two-thirds of residents and dozens of staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 37 residents have died of complications, reports the New York Times. Per-day fines of $13,585 were in effect from Feb. 12 to March 27, totaling $611,325, per NPR, as investigators found the facility didn't inform state officials of a spike in respiratory infections in a timely manner and didn't have a plan in place to ensure 24-hour resident care when its primary clinician fell ill.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says the most urgent issues have been resolved, though the facility is not yet in compliance with all federal regulations. The Times mentions inadequate record-keeping and safety strategies. Unless those issues are resolved by Sept. 16, "CMS will terminate your facility from participating in the Medicare/Medicaid program," reads a letter sent to Life Care Center on Wednesday. The state has additionally blocked new admissions at the facility, which responded Thursday, noting it had a "5-star overall rating from CMS" before the outbreak. While some findings "are incorrect … we will follow CMS' process and not address our responses in the public," it said. (More coronavirus stories.)

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