Covid ‘Testing Hell’: Devices Given to Nursing Homes Bring New Problems


“There’s no mechanism in place for reporting,” stated Kim Schilling, the vice chairman of well being companies at Friendship Haven, which runs a nursing residence in rural Iowa. “We have been on the telephone yesterday attempting to determine this out with the division of public well being and it was very overwhelming for them too.”

Katie Smith Sloan, the president of LeadingAge, an affiliation of nonprofit suppliers of getting old companies, stated the Trump administration’s concentrate on fines and stringent reporting necessities have been the fallacious strategy to addressing a disaster that was aggravated by federal inaction within the early months of the pandemic.

“For seven months, nursing houses have been saving and defending lives whereas coping with staffing shortages, testing and private protecting gear challenges and rising surprising prices,” she stated.

David Grabowski, a well being care coverage professional at Harvard Medical College, described the federal rapid-test program as “a constructive step however late within the sport,” and stated Washington ought to do extra to handle the systemic monetary and staffing issues which have lengthy bedeviled the trade’s efforts to protect susceptible residents from infectious pathogens. As a result of federal reimbursements don’t cowl the total price of care in a lot of the nation, nursing residence operators who serve predominantly Medicaid sufferers say they typically lack the cash to rent sufficient expert employees prepared to tackle a grueling job that the pandemic has made more and more traumatic and fraught with threat.

“I don’t have an issue penalizing nursing houses responsible of gross negligence, however my sense is that a lot of the services on the market have been doing their greatest regardless of coping with sick employees, an absence of sources and poor steerage from the federal authorities,” Mr. Grabowski stated. “Placing efforts into coaching employees on an infection management, boosting wages and providing paid sick go away can be a greater strategy.”

The brand new testing necessities are ruled by a posh set of tips from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention which are pegged to the positivity charge of checks for coronavirus infections within the county the place services are located. When group positivity charges surpass 10 p.c, nursing houses should take a look at their residents and personnel twice per week. The testing necessities drop to as soon as per week when the group positivity charge is between 5 and 10 p.c, and as soon as a month when it’s beneath 5 p.c.

As of Sept. 13, greater than 3,100 counties throughout the nation reported positivity charges higher than 5 p.c, in response to CMS data.



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