Worcester Telegram: Local nursing homes brace for new wave of virus

September 2, 2020
by Elaine Thompson
Worcester Telegram: Local nursing homes brace for new wave of virus

“…Alison Weingartner, executive director of Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Homes, said she still has concerns about the safety of nursing home residents. One of her main concerns is the state designating wings of some nursing homes — including many that were poor-performing — as isolation space for COVID-19 patients brought there from hospitals.

As an incentive, the state paid the nursing homes, not only for the COVID-19 positive patients they took in, but also provided additional funding toward the care of all the other patients in that nursing home.

Weingartner said one of the nursing homes had been designated “special focus facilities” by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which meant they were “among the worst of the worst.”

Weingartner’s group complained when Beaumont in Worcester was designated a COVID-19 recovery center and relocated regular residents so it could take in COVID-19 patients from hospitals. The relocation plan was abandoned after some of the patients being moved were found to have the coronavirus.

“I have concerns,” Weingartner said. “If we have a surge, how does that affect these isolation homes that still exist today when we still haven’t sorted through the fact that some are low-care providers … and how they affect residents already living in the nursing home?”…”