We will say it once. We can say it 1000 times.
Nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities and elder care institutions are not burdened by appropriate oversight. In reality, they largely report to no one. And, with combined ownership on the real estate side and on the management/operations side in the hands of private equity firms and publicly traded companies, the flow of money is endless and nearly untraceable.
These homes churn owners, in some cases so they can change oversight records, wiping the slate clean when abuse and neglect results in patient death. They collect money from the government in the form of payments, reimbursements and for some even PPP loans or SBA loans, which should trigger government oversight. But sadly oversight is simply in short supply.
And alas, with front-facing ownership changes, history gets scrubbed. It is all a shell game; and one that traffics in human life. With Covid-19, these homes can profit from death.
In many states, the owners of these facilities are largely exempt from liability, even in the case of gross negligence – a highly profitable exemption. And the politicians who have collected donations can look the other way as the owners profit and those most vulnerable die. Humanity be damned.
A nursing assistant at a Prescott nursing home says she was told to continue to work with patients after informing her supervisor that she was symptomatic for COVID-19 — and also after she later tested positive for the disease.
Now, the state is investigating.
The facility, Granite Creek Health and Rehabilitation Center in Prescott, a skilled-nursing facility with more than 100 long-term residents and rehab patients from the local hospital, had been spared until early June from the pandemic. But as certified nursing assistant at the facility told Phoenix New Times, things spiraled out of control quickly after an employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus on June 9.
New Times is not disclosing the name of the worker based on her request for anonymity. Sick with COVID-19 and still trying to beat back the virus in home quarantine, she doesn’t want to return to Granite Creek and doesn’t want publicity.
“The state surveyor told me that they’re keeping my identity secret and calling me by the code name ‘Hero Worker’ LOL,” she wrote in an email on Tuesday. “I am still concerned that it being known that I reported this could affect my ability to find another job once I’m recovered.”
Mike Rasmussen, the facility’s administrator, confirmed on Tuesday that 16 staff members and 25 residents at Granite Creek have tested positive. He acknowledged in an email that the company would allow a COVID-positive staff member to come to work, and might ask but would not require that a sick staff member come to work.