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Are New York Nursing Homes Death Pits? Coronavirus Post

Are New York Nursing Homes Death Pits? Coronavirus Post

[Post Updated April 29 to include information about New York's new immunity law shielding negligent nursing homes.] Last week the New York Times called nursing homes “death pits.” Already 10,000 nursing home patients, almost all of them elderly, died in the United States. Hundreds are dying each day. And almost all of those cases are preventable.

In early April shortly before cases peaked in New York, the New York Health Department acknowledged coronavirus had infected more than half of the state’s nursing homes. At that time there were 5,650 nursing home cases. 1,970 of those folks didn’t make it. Yet the state wouldn’t name the facilities.

We think keeping residents and their families in the dark is cruel. It contributes to fear and anxiety.

Finally, on April 17th New York State began naming the facilities. At least 72 nursing homes had 5 or more deaths. In one facility, Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn, 55 have died. Several remain hospitalized meaning that figure may increase. Five other facilities had at least 40 deaths!

As of today, the New York Health Department says the following nursing homes have six or more deaths:

  • BronxCare Special Care Center Bronx - 7 deaths
  • Split Rock Rehabilitation and Health Care Center Bronx - 8 deaths
  • East Haven Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Bronx - 12
  • St Vincent Depaul Residence Bronx - 13
  • Bronx Gardens Rehabilitation and Nursing Center Bronx - 17
  • St Patricks Home Bronx -17
  • Bronx Center for Rehabilitation & Health Care Bronx - 18 deaths
  • The Plaza Rehab and Nursing Center Bronx - 35
  • Kings Harbor Multicare Center Bronx – 45 deaths
  • Ferncliff Nursing Home Co Inc Dutchess County - 6
  • Buffalo Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Erie County - 7
  • Father Baker Manor Erie County - 11
  • Harris Hill Nursing Facility, LLC Erie County- 11
  • Garden Gate Health Care Facility Erie County - 12 deaths
  • Downtown Brooklyn Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Brooklyn - 6
  • Haym Solomon Home for the Aged Brooklyn - 6
  • Oxford Nursing Home Brooklyn - 7
  • Seagate Rehabilitation and Nursing Center Brooklyn - 7
  • Sea Crest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Brooklyn - 9 deaths
  • Shore View Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Brooklyn - 14
  • Dr Susan Smith Mckinney Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Brooklyn - 17
  • Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare Brooklyn - 34
  • Cobble Hill Health Center, Inc Brooklyn - 55 deaths
  • St Johns Health Care Corporation Monroe County - 10 deaths
  • Garden Care Center Nassau County - 8
  • A Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility Nassau County - 6
  • Excel at Woodbury for Rehabilitation and Nursing, LLC Nassau County - 8
  • Lynbrook Restorative Therapy and Nursing Nassau County - 8
  • Glen Cove Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation Nassau County - 8 deaths
  • Hempstead Park Nursing Home Nassau County - 8
  • Townhouse Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing Nassau County - 8
  • Highfield Gardens Care Center of Great Neck Nassau County- 14
  • The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Great Neck Nassau County - 15
  • White Oaks Rehabilitation and Nursing Center Nassau County - 16 deaths
  • Sunharbor Manor Nassau County - 16
  • Central Island Healthcare Nassau County - 19
  • Long Beach Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Nassau County - 22
  • New Gouverneur Hospital SNF New York City - 7
  • Northern Manhattan Rehabilitation and Nursing Center New York City - 9 deaths
  • Isabella Geriatric Center Inc New York City - 13
  • Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center New York City - 20
  • The New Jewish Home, New York City - 25
  • The Riverside, New York City - 25 Deaths
  • Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home Co Inc New York City - 32 deaths
  • Schervier Pavilion Orange county - 6
  • Montgomery Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Orange County - 10
  • The Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation Orange County - 25
  • Putnam Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Putnam County - 7
  • Elmhurst Care Center, Inc Queens - 6 deaths
  • Silvercrest Queens - 6
  • Rego Park Nursing Home Queens - 7
  • The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Queens, Queens County - 6
  • Dry Harbor Nursing Home, Queens - 10
  • Ozanam Hall of Queens Nursing Home Inc Queens - 9 deaths
  • Caring Family Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Queens - 10
  • Cliffside Rehabilitation & Residential Health Care Center, Queens - 16
  • Sapphire Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing of Central Queens, LLC Queens - 26
  • NYS Veterans Home in NYC, Queens - 19
  • Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care & Rehab Queens - 49 deaths
  • Holliswood Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare Queens - 42 deaths
  • Franklin Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Queens - 45 deaths
  • Carmel Richmond Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center Richmond – 45 deaths
  • Tolstoy Foundation Rehabilitation and Nursing Center Rockland County - 7
  • Gurwin Jewish Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Suffolk County - 6
  • Luxor Nursing and Rehabilitation at Sayville Suffolk County - 6
  • Peconic Landing at Southold Suffolk County -6
  • Good Samaritan Nursing and Rehabilitation Care Center Suffolk County - 13 deaths
  • Island Nursing and Rehab Center Suffolk County - 10
  • Our Lady of Consolation Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Center Suffolk County - 20
  • Luxor Nursing and Rehabilitation at Mills Pond Suffolk County - 22
  • Apex Rehabilitation & Care Center Suffolk County -27
  • Long Island State Veterans Home Suffolk County - 30 deaths
  • Carillon Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Suffolk County - 30
  • Westchester Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing Westchester County - 6
  • North Westchester Restorative Therapy and Nursing Center Westchester County -7
  • Martine Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Westchester County - 11
  • St Cabrini Nursing Home Westchester County - 14 deaths
  • The New Jewish Home, Sarah Neuman Westchester County -16
  • The Wartburg Home Westchester County - 26
  • Regency Extended Care Center Westchester County - 30
  • Atria Park of Great Neck Nassau County - 7
  • Sunrise of Smithtown Suffolk County - 7 deaths
  • Babylon Beach House Home for Adults Suffolk County - 7
  • Sunrise of Dix Hills Suffolk County - 8 deaths

Why So Many Coronavirus Deaths in New York Nursing Homes?

The question on so many minds is why? How is this possible? Why are so many people dying in nursing homes? The answer is complex.

First, nursing homes were for the most part woefully unprepared. Many didn’t have good infectious disease protocols in place. Hospitals have the same duties to protect patients as nursing homes. They do a much better job, however.

Nursing homes are traditionally understaffed. Training opportunities are often much fewer than in hospitals.

A big factor is attitude. Nursing homes have developed the “warehouse” mentality of healthcare instead of doing everything possible to preserve and improve the welfare of residents.

Testing is also worse in nursing homes. Failure to immediately test sick patients means COVID-19 can spread rapidly undetected. By the time a nursing home knows it has a problem, many of its residents are already deathly ill.

We have also found that many nursing homes are afraid to report problems or seek help. Those precious wasted days caused many unnecessary deaths.

Let’s look at the six homes with more than 40 deaths.

Cobble Hill Health Center – Brooklyn

More people from this nursing home died of coronavirus than anywhere else in the state. Perhaps the nation. This non-profit facility has 364 beds. 55 residents have died thus far of coronavirus or coronavirus related complications. It’s staffing? Medicare says “below average.”

The average skilled nursing facility has 5 citations. Cobble Hill? More than double the state average – 12 citations. When last inspected in May 2019, investigators found the facility wasn’t timely providing patient assessment data to the state.

We are seeing the same thing now when nursing homes don’t immediately report COVID-19 outbreaks to patients, families, state regulators and the CDC.

Cobble Hill was also found to be slow in developing care plans. In our opinion, that is often the result of poor staffing. If a nursing home can’t develop care plans in normal times, how can they effectively respond when staff members are out (quarantine or sick themselves) and when the facility is in the midst of a crisis?

Kings Harbor Multicare Center – Bronx NY

This for profit facility is big, 720 beds. 45 residents have died as of this writing from COVID-19. Although a “five star” facility, Medicare says the facility’s staffing is “below average.”

Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care – New Hyde Park (Queens)

This nonprofit facility has 527 beds and relatively good ratings. It ranks in second place for the number of COVID-19 related deaths, however. 49 residents have died.

There were reports that staff didn’t have the proper protective equipment – PPE. Gowns, gloves and respirators (N95 grade masks) protect not only the staff but other residents so that they don’t get sick from staff who may be carriers. One report said nursing staff were wearing garbage bags. Parker Jewish denies that report, however.

On April 20th, the facility released a statement saying, “At no time were our staff instructed or expected to wear garbage bags as gown replacements. Parker has expended enormous effort and spared no expense to secure Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for our staff, often at grossly inflated prices, and we continue to regularly secure and issue all of the PPE for nursing homes.”

Holliswood Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare – Queens

This 314 bed facility has terrible grades. Medicare says the facility is “much below average” for both staffing and for its overall grade. More than 10% of the residents here died in just a a few short weeks from coronavirus or related complications.

During its last full inspection in May 2019, investigators said the facility failed to “protect each resident from all types of abuse such as physical, mental, sexual abuse, physical punishment, and neglect...” That same inspection also cited the facility for failure to “ensure that each resident is free from the use of physical restraints, unless needed for medical treatment.”

What does that have to do with coronavirus? First, these kinds of reports are extremely concerning. It shows that patients are at high risk. They are also classic signs of neglect.

We have found that the overuse of restraints is often a sign of severe staffing shortage. Rather than spend the time necessary to care for residents, some facilities simply tie patients to their bedrails. It’s disgusting. We wouldn’t be surprised to find that these same staffing issues contributed to the huge outbreak of coronavirus. Patients at Holliswood Center didn’t stand a chance.

During an interview with reporters, Governor Cuomo admitted he didn’t know that some nursing homes were readmitting patients that were testing positive for coronavirus. To us, that is like throwing a lit match in a room full of dry tinder. We suspect that many of the outbreaks in New York were caused by facilities not properly segregating or removing positive patients to another location. (Earlier this week we reported on a Wisconsin nursing home that was allowing COVID-19 positive patients to share rooms with other patients and not even provide masks to patients who were sharing rooms!)

Franklin Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing – Queens

Medicare says this facility has been cited for abuse. If a facility can’t prevent patients from being abused, how can they protect patients from an invisible killer?

The Franklin Center – also known as the New Franklin Center – has already had 45 deaths. Why? According to the Queens Chronicle,

“It’s now becoming clear that the biggest tragedy of all in the coronavirus crisis is the carnage happening in our nation’s nursing homes, nowhere more so than right here in Queens…

Inspectors must make sure the facilities are adequately staffed, and if they’re not, the state must get more professionals into them somehow. And it must insist that people be notified of their loved one’s status right away. We’ve heard too many stories of someone learning a family member was terribly ill only when it was too late. That’s unacceptable.”

Carmel Richmond Healthcare and Rehab Center – Staten Island

This 300 bed nonprofit nursing home is an anomaly. Great grades from Medicare yet 15% of its patients succumbed to a coronavirus outbreak within the facility.

Nursing Home Death Numbers May Be Much Higher

As shocking and depressing as these numbers are, the total number of nursing home deaths related to COVID-19 may be much higher.  The nursing home numbers reported by the New York Health Department only reflect what the facilities self report. Nursing home patients who die in hospitals probably aren’t counted. Nor are those who died without ever being tested.

Governor Cuomo said, “We only know what they tell us.”

New York City Councilman Mark Treyger of Brooklyn said, “I believe the situation at nursing homes is much worse than what’s being reported to the public. If a nursing home doesn’t have the ability to test, they’re not confirming virus cases and they’re not reporting them to the state of New York. That’s why I think whatever is being reported to the state is not fully complete.”

Workers at the Ozanam Hall nursing home in Queens, told THE CITY that over  50 residents have presumptively died from coronavirus. The facility had so many dead that the bodies were reportedly left in rooms waiting for pickup. State statistics show just nine deaths.

Are New York Nursing Homes Responsible for Coronavirus Deaths?

The sheer number of coronavirus related deaths in New York nursing homes is unacceptable.  We are actively investigating cases in both New York and nationwide. Until better testing and vaccines are developed, no facility can guarantee that its patients won’t be exposed to coronavirus. There is no excuse, however, for huge outbreaks in which most of the residents become infected.

It’s easy for the facility to blame the government. The facility, however, is ultimately responsible for testing, effective infectious disease and virus control measures, protective equipment and proper staffing. While the nation as a whole may have been caught off guard by the pandemic, nursing homes should have been prepared.

Most residents of nursing homes are elderly and have significant underlying health issues. These folks are most vulnerable to the flu, coronavirus and other viral outbreaks. Nursing homes have a duty to be ready and to protect their residents. In many cases, they failed miserably. It’s difficult to understand why busy hospitals have been successful at preventing outbreaks while nursing homes can’t.

Governor Cuomo Signs Executive Order, Legislation Protecting Bad Nursing Homes

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order (202.10) that shields healthcare workers from immunity from malpractice and most other wrongdoing. The order is retroactive to March 7th. Under the order, there is now immunity from civil liability for “any injury or death alleged to have been sustained directly as a result of an action or omission” by a physician, physician assistant, specialist assistant, nurse practitioner, and/or a registered or licensed professional nurse.

The order continues while the governor's coronavirus pandemic emergency declaration is in effect.

Not to be outdone, the New York Legislature enacted an even broader bill called Emergency Disaster Treatment Protection Act [EDTPA]. That law shields both healthcare facilities and professionals from most forms of civil and criminal liability. Like the executive order, it retroactively extends from March 7, 2020 until the emergency declaration expires. The order includes nursing homes.

Both the order and the EDTPA allows lawsuits if one can prove gross negligence or intentional disregard. 

While we laud efforts to protect healthcare workers who must work long hours or don't have enough equipment, blanket immunities cause more harm than good. Nursing homes can pretty much get away with murder. Making a touch decision because three patients need a ventilator and a hospital only has one available. That is a far cry from not providing mask to sick patients and nursing home staff. 

The Mahany Law Team – Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers

The nursing home neglect lawyers at Mahany Law are actively investigating nursing home coronavirus deaths. As of this update, laws or executive orders giving nursing homes immunity have been issued in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan. Louisiana has a law granting immunity during declared emergencies. We are actively opposing similar planned laws in Florida and California.

Our focus is protecting our families and learning all that we can about this evolving healthcare crisis. Our prayers are with those in nursing homes, their families and the brave women and men who go to work every day in our skilled nursing facilities. Many of them are overworked and lack the test kits and protective gear they require.

Although many courts have announced temporary closures, we remain working and available for consultation.

For more information, visit our nursing home coronavirus information page. Ready to see if you have a case? Contact us online, by email [hidden email] or by phone 833-201-1555. 

(Coronavirus nursing home cases accepted nationwide - we have lawyers throughout the United States. Consultations are without obligation or fee. Cases accepted on a contingency fee basis meaning there are no legal fees or costs unless we recover money on your behalf. Some states have special rules for medical malpractice or nursing home cases. We follow the laws in every jurisdiction where we accept a case.)

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