Category

Nursing Homes

San Diego County Won’t Disclose Which Assisted Living Homes Have COVID-19 Cases

By | IN THE NEWS, Nursing Homes

KPBS: San Diego County Won’t Disclose Which Assisted Living Homes Have COVID-19 Cases (July 22, 2020)

The Department of Social Services has published the names of 154 facilities with seven or more beds that have COVID-19 cases. In a statement, a spokesperson said another 96 smaller facilities have had cases but have not been named because it may allow the public to identify people who contracted the virus, which would violate health privacy laws.That decision has effectively denied the public access to valuable information, said Eric Carlson, an attorney at the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Justice in Aging. “Knowledge about the presence of COVID-19 is just incredibly important at this point,” Carlson said. “It’s not helpful for consumers and others to be deprived of that information.”

Deregulated Under Trump, Nursing Homes are Becoming COVID Morgues

By | IN THE NEWS, Nursing Homes

Truthout: Deregulated Under Trump, Nursing Homes are Becoming COVID Morgues (July 14, 2020)

As of late June, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that the number of COVID-19 infections among nursing-home residents had exceeded 126,402 nationwide, in addition to about 78,692 suspected cases and 35,517 deaths — though CMS admits its data is incomplete, as the data reporting only goes back to mid-May, and not all facilities have been consistently reporting data. With proper infection controls, testing, and PPE, this tragedy could have been avoided, yet under the Trump Administration, long-term care facilities have been steadily deregulated. At the same time, state and federal officials are quietly working to grant legal immunity from wrongful death suits to health care facilities. Justice in Aging Directing Attorney, Eric Carlson argued that nursing homes do not need such broad immunity because courts would generally take the pandemic into account when weighing, for example, wrongful death lawsuits. By contrast, under blanket immunity, “providers wouldn’t be responsible, regardless of the facts — regardless of the short staffing, regardless of the poor management, and regardless of the poor care that might be provided,” Carlson says. “And this is not the time when we want to do anything to excuse poor care, because we need better care during this time, not worse care.”

No One Should Be Surprised That America Abandoned the Elderly to Die

By | Economic Security, Health Equity, Home & Community Based Services, IN THE NEWS, Nursing Homes, SENIOR POVERTY

New York Magazine Intelligencer, No One Should Be Surprised That America Abandoned the Elderly to Die, (July 9, 2020)

In the U.S., seniors are often an afterthought. Though elderly Americans receive Social Security and Medicare benefits that lift millions above the federal poverty line, other, more precise measures of economic hardship suggest that senior insecurity is higher in the U.S. than in many other wealthy countries. One survey found that half of all seniors who live alone lacked the means to cover basic expenses; among two-senior households, nearly a quarter reported the same. Many of those low-income seniors continue to work, or enter poorly regulated care facilities that can pose unique dangers to their health. “This is a group who is already living on the edge,” explained Kevin Prindiville, executive director of Justice in Aging. “Because they have low incomes. They have limited work opportunities. They have limited social support in their community. And then you add to that this virus, which is particularly dangerous for them. It just exacerbates all the challenges that they were living with before.”

Free Webcast: Advocating Today and for the Future: Nursing Homes and Home and Community-Based Services in a COVID-19 World

By | Health Care, Home & Community Based Services, Medicaid, Nursing Homes, WEBINAR, Webinar Trainings

The COVID-19 pandemic presents difficulties and great risk for older Americans and people with disabilities who rely on hands-on assistance from others. Since early March, nursing home residents and others in congregate care settings have faced infection, injury, death, and relentless isolation. Home and community-based services (HCBS) programs have struggled to maintain services at necessary levels.

This Justice in Aging webcast, Advocating Today and for the Future: Nursing Homes and Home and Community-Based Services in a COVID-19 World, will look at both the present and the future. The session will bring attendees up to date on COVID-related policy changes for nursing homes and HCBS, including federal guidance for “reopening” nursing homes.

Also, the session will consider policy changes that the current crisis makes imperative. Shared-occupancy congregate care is a recipe for disaster in a COVID-19 world. The session will consider the immediate need for real change: both in remaking the nursing home model, and, more importantly, in making Medicaid HCBS available to all financially-eligible persons who need it.

Who should participate:
Aging and disability community advocates who want to learn more about advocating around nursing facility issues during COVID-19, and policy ideas for improving facilities and the long-term care system into the future.

Presenters:
Eric Carlson, Justice in Aging
Gelila Selassie, Justice in Aging

The webcast took place on Tuesday, June 30, 11:00 a.m. PT/2:00 p.m. ET.

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Harrowing Blame Game Over COVID-19 in Nursing Homes

By | IN THE NEWS, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Newsroom, Nursing Homes

Associated Press: Harrowing Blame Game Over COVID-19 in Nursing Homes (June 15, 2020)

The Trump administration has been pointing to a segment of the industry — facilities with low federal ratings for infection control — and to some Democratic governors who required nursing homes to take recovering coronavirus patients. Advocates for older people say the federal government hasn’t provided needed virus testing and sufficient protective gear to allow nursing homes to operate safely. A White House directive to test all residents and staff has been met with an uneven response. “The lack of federal coordination certainly has impeded facilities’ ability to identify infected persons and to provide care,” Eric Carlson, a long-term care expert with the advocacy group Justice in Aging, told lawmakers.

Aging and Older Adults in the Time of COVID-19

By | Health Care Defense, Health Disparities, Health Equity, IN THE NEWS, Medicaid, Nursing Homes, SENIOR POVERTY

Peace and Social Justice Radio Show: Aging and Older Adults in the Time of COVID-19 (June 5, 2020)

Justice in Aging Senior Staff Attorney Claire Ramsey was a featured guest on the show. She spoke about COVID-19 and older adults in California, particularly the impact on older adults of color. She also talked about how devastating the proposed budget cuts to programs low-income older adults rely on to stay safe during a pandemic. Claire’s segment starts at the 1 hour mark.

A National Disgrace: 40,600 Deaths Tied to US Nursing Homes

By | IN THE NEWS, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Nursing Homes

USA Today: A National Disgrace: 40,600 Deaths Tied to US Nursing Homes (June 1, 2020)

Over the last three months, more than 40,600 long-term care residents and workers have died of COVID-19 – about 40% of the nation’s death toll attributed to the coronavirus, according to an analysis of state data gathered by USA TODAY. That number eclipses a count released Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal government’s first attempt at a comprehensive tally. CMS said 25,923 residents had died, but its number only includes federally regulated nursing homes, not assisted living facilities. And this, even as families are not allowed to visit loved ones. “Without an end in sight, home operators need to do more to connect residents with their loved ones outside,” said Eric Carlson, a directing attorney at Justice in Aging.

Nursing Homes Fought Federal Emergency Plan Requirements for Years. Now, They’re Coronavirus Hot Spots

By | IN THE NEWS, Medicaid, Nursing Homes

Pro Publica: Nursing Homes Fought Federal Emergency Plan Requirements for Years. Now, They’re Coronavirus Hot Spots (May 29, 2020)

The long-term care industry resisted a federal mandate to plan for disasters including pandemics. About 43% of nursing homes have been caught violating the requirement, including facilities that have now had deadly COVID-19 outbreaks. The lack of pandemic plans helps explain why nursing homes have been caught unprepared for the new coronavirus, patient advocates and industry observers said. Since inspectors are tasked with identifying immediate hazards, they may be less focused on scrutinizing emergency plans, said Eric Carlson, directing attorney of Justice in Aging.

Some Nursing Homes Escaped COVID-19-Here’s What they Did Right

By | Health Care, Health Equity, Home & Community Based Services, IN THE NEWS, Medicaid, Medicare, Nursing Homes, Person-Centered Care Planning

Wired: Some Nursing Homes Escaped COVID-19-Here’s What they Did Right (May 29, 2020)

Cmiel’s staff stocked up on personal protective equipment and masks for workers and residents; screened everyone who walked in the door for symptoms; hired more staff to clean bathrooms and common areas; and started educating everyone on best practices for containing the virus. And while nursing homes account for nearly half of California’s coronavirus fatalities, at the SFCJL not a single resident has tested positive for the virus. Not all facilities were so lucky. A better approach to keep older people safe from Covid-19 would be to care for them in their homes, keeping them out of long-term residential settings. “There should be a continuum of care, and institutional care should really be reserved for people who need it, who can’t be successful and safe in their own homes,” said Claire Ramsey, Senior Staff Attorney at Justice in Aging.

Transfer Trauma: America’s Seniors Suffer as Care System Pushes them Between Sites

By | IN THE NEWS, Nursing Homes

The Guardian: Transfer Trauma: America’s Seniors Suffer as Care System Pushes them Between Sites (May 28, 2020)

Transfer trauma, a nonclinical term for what elders experience when they are moved from one facility to another, is something elder care advocates see families confront every day. “It’s extremely common,” Eric Carlson of Justice in Aging said. “It’s a very dangerous point in the life of a nursing facility resident when the Medicare has ended.”