JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Federal officials are suspending non-emergency inspections across the country in nursing homes and hospitals, instead focusing on complaints alleging infection control concerns.
This comes as a nursing care facility in Seattle, Life Care Center, is dealing with more than 50 residents and staff experiencing symptoms from coronavirus, according to CNN. As of Monday, a total of 16 people linked to the center have died from coronavirus.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have prioritized all immediate jeopardy complaints allegations of abuse and neglect, complaints alleging infection control issues and the survey of facilities and hospitals that have a history of infection control deficiencies at the immediate jeopardy level in the last three years.
52 nursing homes in Northeast Florida have been cited for one or more infection control deficiencies in the last three years, according to data from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Of those, five in Northeast Florida have been cited at the immediate jeopardy level in the last three years.
In one case from 2018, inspectors found a nursing home staff failed to clean and disinfect a device used to measure blood glucose in a nursing home in Jacksonville.
News4Jax requested a list of facilities being inspected by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration since the mandate. AHCA said they expect to have an official response to our request Tuesday.
Sylvester Kelsey comes to the J.S. Johnson Senior Center in LaVilla almost every day. Kelsey says he is concerned about the spread of the virus among him and his older friends.
“The older you get your immune system is low, it’s hard for you to fight off the virus. That’s why it’s devastating to older people,” said Kelsey. “I’m not that worried about it because I am protected up under the blood of Jesus, you know what I am saying. But you still have to be wise and not go out there and contact it by being stupid and foolish.”
The communications director for The Florida Department of Health in Duval County was unsure if the health department released any advisories or instructions for senior centers regarding COVID-19.
According to a letter sent to State Survey Agency Directors, inspectors are to focus on:
- Improper transmission precautions procedures
- Lack of staff knowledge of transmission precautions
- Improper staff use of personal protective equipment and/or inadequate hand hygiene
- High-risk, significant environmental cleaning issues
- Ineffective and/or improper laundering of linens
- Possible infection control surveillance program issues and also consider how influenza & pneumococcal programs are managed