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States with the most nursing homes unprepared for infection

  • States with the most nursing homes unprepared for infection

    The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged nursing homes across the country. Almost 26,000 deaths related to the disease have been reported in nursing homes and long-term care centers across the country as of June 1, according to a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the CDC obtained by The Associated Press. The number of deaths is likely to be higher as it only accounts for 80% of the country's nursing homes.

    While the coronavirus crisis may have highlighted the vulnerability of nursing home residents, many of the facilities that are supposed to protect older adults have been putting their patients at risk long before the pandemic. Infection control violations top the list of problems cited during nursing home inspections in the last year, per Medicare.gov. What’s more, one in three Medicare beneficiaries experienced adverse effects or harm in skilled nursing facilities, according to an Office of Inspector General study conducted from 2008–2012. Eldercare advocates are calling for a complete redesign of nursing home layouts to make them safer and healthier for residents.

    Nursing home residents’ susceptibility to infection can vary by state. To examine the preparedness level of nursing homes in every state, Stacker used 2019 data from the Center for Medicare Services Nursing Home Compare tool, pulled and cleaned by Erin Petenko of the Vermont Digger, and released publicly via Stanford University’s Big Local News program. All 50 states and the District of Columbia are ranked here, according to the share of nursing homes in the state that have received a failing grade (F) in the inspection category “Provide and implement an infection prevention and control program” during a Medicare inspection in 2019. Supplemental data on each state’s total nursing home population is sourced from the Kaiser Family Foundation and is as of 2017.

    Wondering if the nursing homes in your area are prepared for COVID-19 and other infections? Read on to see how facilities in each state stack up.

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  • #51. North Carolina

    - Nursing homes with failing infection control: 28 (0.5%)
    - Total nursing homes monitored by Medicare: 5,543
    - County with the most unprepared nursing homes: N/A (>2 counties tied)
    - Total nursing home population: 35,763

    More than 60 nursing homes in North Carolina had at least one resident who tested positive for COVID-19 by May 11, 2020, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. A collaborative news investigation uncovered a pattern of poor disease control protocols among the nursing homes with the highest volume of cases.

  • #50. New Hampshire

    - Nursing homes with failing infection control: 14 (1.2%)
    - Total nursing homes monitored by Medicare: 1,170
    - County with the most unprepared nursing homes: Hillsborough County (4)
    - Total nursing home population: 6,442

    New Hampshire has had outbreaks of COVID-19 in at least 16 of its long-term care facilities as of May 10, 2020, according to Josie Albertson-Grove of the New Hampshire Union Leader. The state’s commissioner of health and human services is calling for ongoing COVID-19 testing of residents and staff at nursing homes to keep tabs on the spread of the virus.

  • #49. Arizona

    - Nursing homes with failing infection control: 21 (1.4%)
    - Total nursing homes monitored by Medicare: 1,553
    - County with the most unprepared nursing homes: Maricopa County (14)
    - Total nursing home population: 11,343

    Arizona is among a handful of states that have yet to reveal which nursing homes have had outbreaks of the coronavirus. Around 150 nursing homes in the state that receive federal Medicare and Medicaid may soon be required to report data related to COVID-19 at their facilities, according to a memo from the national Department of Health & Human Services from May 6, 2020, but assisted living centers that don’t participate in the federal program would not be required to share that information under the proposed rule.

  • #48. Vermont

    - Nursing homes with failing infection control: 7 (1.4%)
    - Total nursing homes monitored by Medicare: 517
    - County with the most unprepared nursing homes: N/A (>2 counties tied)
    - Total nursing home population: 2,440

    Most of the COVID-19 cases in Burlington, the largest city in Vermont, are connected with two nursing homes, according to an analysis of state data conducted by Derek Brouwer and Andrea Suozzo of Seven Days. By late April, the disease had killed at least 24 nursing home residents in the area.

  • #47. Georgia

    - Nursing homes with failing infection control: 50 (1.5%)
    - Total nursing homes monitored by Medicare: 3,246
    - County with the most unprepared nursing homes: Bibb County (3), Chatham County (3)
    - Total nursing home population: 33,043

    Some nursing homes in Georgia are struggling to find enough workers to provide 24-hour care for residents after more than 1,800 long-term care providers have come down with COVID-19 as of May 7, 2020, according to Carrie Teegardin and Brad Schrade of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. At least 659 residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes have died from the disease.

     

  • #46. Alaska

    - Nursing homes with failing infection control: 5 (1.6%)
    - Total nursing homes monitored by Medicare: 318
    - County with the most unprepared nursing homes: N/A (>2 counties tied)
    - Total nursing home population: 608

    The early suspension of visitations to some nursing homes in Alaska gave the facilities a head start at preventing the spread of coronavirus. Some facilities have developed creative ways to help residents stay in touch with loved ones through technology and drive-by parades.

  • #45. Rhode Island

    - Nursing homes with failing infection control: 13 (1.6%)
    - Total nursing homes monitored by Medicare: 814
    - County with the most unprepared nursing homes: Kent County (4)
    - Total nursing home population: 7,817

    The deaths of nursing home residents in Rhode Island from COVID-19 account for 76% of all fatal cases of the disease in the state, according to data from the state’s Department of Health. The state is making an effort to test every patient and worker at nursing homes, according to an announcement from the governor on May 6, 2020.

  • #44. Maine

    - Nursing homes with failing infection control: 20 (1.7%)
    - Total nursing homes monitored by Medicare: 1,191
    - County with the most unprepared nursing homes: Cumberland County (4)
    - Total nursing home population: 5,947

    One in five coronavirus cases in Maine are connected to nursing homes, according to Phil Hirschkorn of WMTW News 8. Nearly 250 nursing home residents and workers in the state have come down with COVID-19 as of May 5, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention.

  • #43. Maryland

    - Nursing homes with failing infection control: 56 (1.7%)
    - Total nursing homes monitored by Medicare: 3,217
    - County with the most unprepared nursing homes: Montgomery County (8)
    - Total nursing home population: 24,414

    State regulators in Maryland have issued fines to Sagepoint Senior Living, a nursing home with the highest death toll from COVID-19. According to the Washington Post, a letter from the regulators states that the facility neglected to isolate infected patients from the other residents and failed to use the correct personal protective equipment.

  • #42. Montana

    - Nursing homes with failing infection control: 20 (2.2%)
    - Total nursing homes monitored by Medicare: 927
    - County with the most unprepared nursing homes: N/A (>2 counties tied)
    - Total nursing home population: 4,153

    Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said he wants to test all residents of nursing homes in the state for the coronavirus. The logistics of conducting the testing was still being worked out with the facilities as of May 8, 2020.

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