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COVID-19 tests sent to nursing homes bring new problems

Covid-19

The federal government’s response to COVID-19 brings to mind a quote from former President Ronald Reagan: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Or, as one skilled nursing home executive recently told The New York Times: “At the moment we’re in testing hell.”

For months, nursing homes suffered from a severe shortage of medical gear as the virus killed 77,000 residents and employees. Finally, the Times reports, the federal government came to their aid by shipping rapid-result test machines to 14,000 residential facilities.

The good news: The machines, provided for free, are designed to identify residents suffering from COVID-19 so they can be isolated and treated. The bad news:

  • Nursing homes must pay for extra testing kits – perhaps hundreds each week – at $32 each
  • The devices are far less accurate than lab-based testing
  • Federal mandates include daily reporting and sometimes run contrary to state and local rules

Too little, too late?

The government is preaching patience as it sorts through efforts to help nursing homes protect elderly residents and employees. Officials say they recognize most facilities are making a good-faith effort and that they will use discretion before imposing fines.

Advocates for the elderly, though, say the government could be doing more after ignoring the crisis for months while blaming nursing homes instead of providing assistance. They say that the bigger issues that must be addressed include:

  • Chronic underfunding
  • Staffing shortages
  • The need for improved training.

“The demands, the stress and the burden on our staff right now are just huge,” one nursing home administrator told The Times. “It’s just not sustainable and if we’re going to do our job and take care of our folks, we’re going to need more help.”

Protect your own interests during the COVID-19 crisis

If your loved one has been sickened by COVID-19 at a nursing home or, worse, succumbed to the virus, you want answers. Given the current situation, though, it is unlikely that a nursing home is going to accept any blame. Some of those who we trust to take care of our loved ones haven proven that they are not up to the task. You may feel alone and powerless.

The nursing home abuse lawyers at Braswell Murphy & Grubb in Alabama and Georgia have experience handling cases just like yours. Our legal team knows how to cut through red tape, stand up to negligent parties and hold someone accountable. We will treat you with the professionalism and compassion that you deserve in pursuit of justice and fair compensation. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case. Contact us today for a free consultation at our offices in Mobile, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia.

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