On June 4, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted the first set of underlying coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) nursing home data. CMS stated: “The data released today shows that as of May 31, 2020, about 13,600 nursing homes – approximately 88 percent of the 15,400 Medicare and Medicaid nursing homes – had reported the required data to the (CDC). These facilities reported over 95,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and almost 32,000 deaths. The next set of data will be updated in two weeks. Going forward after that date, CMS plans to update the data weekly.”
The CMS Administrator recently stated: “Over a year ago, even before the first outbreak in Washington state, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provided resources and alerted nursing homes to improve their infection control practices … The infection control practices CMS reemphasized for nursing homes were not new; they have been part of CMS’s regulatory expectations for years. In fact, two years ago, CMS urgently alerted the nursing home industry that they “have to do better on infection control” … Infection control — including basic violations like a lack of handwashing — was the number one violation … we also know that when nursing homes have a history of infection control violations, they are at higher risk of the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19. Therefore, we’ve decided to hold nursing homes more accountable for the kinds of infection control violations that can help infectious diseases like COVID-19 spread. Given that these requirements are longstanding, there is simply no excuse for continued noncompliance.”
The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that as of June 12, 2020, 26 U.S. states reported that half or more of their deaths due to COVID-19 are occurring in long-term care facilities (down from 27 states on June 4, 2020). There were approximately 46,000 coronavirus deaths in long-term care facilities across 40 states (an increase from approximately 44,000 nursing home coronavirus deaths as of June 4, 2020). There were approximately 231,000 coronavirus cases in long-term care facilities reported across 43 states as of June 12, 2020. Across 40 states reporting data as of June 4, 2020, 45% of total deaths due to COVID-19 in those states occurred in long-term care facilities.
Nursing Home Residents’ Right To Retain Federal Economic Incentive Payments
On June 11, 2020, CMS advised: “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is aware of allegations that some nursing homes are seizing residents economic impact payments (or “Stimulus Checks”) authorized under the CARES Act. This practice is prohibited, and nursing homes that seize these payments from residents could be subject to federal enforcement actions, including potential termination from participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
“Seizing residents’ stimulus checks could be a violation of federal regulations at 42 CFR §483.12, Freedom from Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation. Specifically, this could be considered misappropriation of resident property, which is defined as “the deliberate misplacement, exploitation, or wrongful, temporary, or permanent use of a resident’s belongings or money without the resident’s consent.” Further, nursing homes requiring residents to deposit their stimulus check with the nursing home could be in violation of 42 CFR §483.10 which gives residents have “the right to manage his or her financial affairs.” Further, “The facility must not require residents to deposit their personal funds with the facility. If a resident chooses to deposit personal funds with the facility, upon written authorization of a resident, the facility must act as a fiduciary of the resident’s funds and hold, safeguard, manage, and account for the personal funds of the resident deposited with the facility, as specified in this section.”
If your loved one contracted the coronavirus while in a nursing home in the United States and died as a result, you should promptly contact a nursing home coronavirus lawyer in your state who may investigate your coronavirus nursing home death claim for you and represent your loved one’s estate and family in a nursing home coronavirus death case, if appropriate.
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