A nursing home in Washington state has been fined more than $600,000 after more than 30 deaths from the coronavirus were tied to the facility, The Washington Post reports.
The Life Care Center of Kirkland on Wednesday received a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services noting that the nursing home failed to report an outbreak in February, after which 81 residents, 34 staff members and 14 visitors tested positive for the coronavirus. Eventually 37 people connected to the center died from the virus. CMS also accused Life Care of failing to provide adequate care for its residents during the outbreak, and failed to provide full 24-hour emergency doctor services.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the center held a Mardi Gras party in late February despite a spate of respiratory problems among its residents, after which “everything started escalating,” according to spokesman Tim Killian.
The letter notified the facility, which is located northeast of Seattle, that if it “does not correct all deficiencies and return to full compliance by September 16, 2020, then CMS will terminate your facility from participating in the Medicare/Medicaid program.”
Inspectors imposed a $13,585-per-day penalty that dates from Feb. 12, when the respiratory problems first took hold, to March 27. The center will lose its federal payments from the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and could lose its Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Program and have to forfeit any federal payments made for patients who were admitted between March 21 and 27.
“These remedies will continue in effect until the effective date of the termination of your Medicare provider agreement, or the facility is found back in substantial compliance,” said Patrick Thrift, a CMS branch manager in its long-term-care survey and enforcement division located in Seattle.
Life Care did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.
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