The federal government finally has released information on COVID-19 that it forced nursing homes to provide, but a review of that data shows a number of deficiencies.
Officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that regulates nursing homes, indicated Thursday that some 12 percent of nursing homes did not submit reports. After a grace period, they face fines of $1,000, $1,500 for a second offense and then escalating penalties.
Five facilities in southwest Alabama did not report for weeks ending May 24 or May 31:
- Kensington Health and Rehabilitation in Mobile.
- Knollwood Healthcare in Mobile.
- Robertsdale Rehabilitation.
- Englewood Health Care Center in Monroeville.
- North Mobile Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Eight Mile.
In addition, Willowbrooke Court Skilled Care Center at Westminster Village in Spanish Fort only reported for one of those weeks.
A representative from North Mobile Nursing and Rehabilitation Center told FOX10 News Friday that the facility had submitted its reports. She referred questions to the director, who did not immediately return an email. That facility has acknowledged that it has COVID-19 cases but previously had declined to say how many.
Even when all the reports are filed, it’s hard to know how reliable they are. For instance, Crowne Health Care of Mobile is one of the few nursing homes that has publicly acknowledged an outbreak. It has reported in April that it had had nearly 100 residents and employees who had contracted the disease. But on the government report detailing the total number of confirmed resident cases since the beginning of the year, the facility lists just two. It lists two staff cases, as well.
Aside from contradicting what the facility has said publicly, it also conflicts with the report’s death statistics. It lists five resident deaths from COVID-19, which is more than the number of infections reported.
Frances Coleman, a spokeswoman for the nursing home, told FOX10 News she would seek an explanation from the facility’s administrators but did not immediately follow through.
Despite the limitations, federal authorities hope the public reports will promote transparency and put pressure on administrators and state leaders to step up protractions against the novel coronavirus.
Here are a few takeaways from the nursing home reports:
- Of the 30 facilities in southwest Alabama that submitted reports, 17 reported no cases of COVID-19 among residents. Ashland Place Health and Rehabilitation on Tuscaloosa Street in Mobile had the most resident infections with 80. Three others – Lynwood Nursing Home, Camden Nursing Facility in Washington County and Washington County Nursing Home – had cases in the double digits.
- Some facilities reported a high number of “suspected” cases that had not been confirmed by laboratory tests. Grand Bay Convalescent Home, which reported just one confirmed case, for instance, had 56 suspected cases.
- Lynwood Nursing Home reported the most COVID-19 deaths among residents, with 47. The represents 87 percent of all of the residents who contracted the virus. Ashland Place, with 16 COVID-19 deaths, was the only other local facility with more than 10.
- Crowne Health Care of Mobile and Camden Nursing Facility were the only local facilities to report deaths among employees.
- Lynwood, Camden Nursing Facility, Allen Health and Rehabilitation in Mobile, and Ashland Place reported staff infections in the double digits.
Below is an interactive map showing nursing home information in southwest Alabama. Homes with bigger circles have more resident infections. Those colored red have had at least one death.
Updated at Sunday at 6:22 p.m. to correct an error in the list of local facilities that failed to report data to the federal government. It was Englewood Health Care Center in Monroeville, not Eastern Shore Rehabilitation and Health Center Daphne.