Dozens of Maryland nursing homes fined over COVID-19 reports

Dozens of Maryland nursing homes fined over COVID-19 reports
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Maryland has reportedly fined at least 24 nursing homes in the state for failure to disclose information on coronavirus deaths and infections in their facilities.

Letters and reports dating back to the beginning of March indicate the state’s Office of Health Care Quality fined 24 Medicare-certified facilities between $250 and $750 in early May for violating an executive order by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) that required them to provide the state with data daily, according to The Washington Post.

Fran Phillips, the state’s deputy secretary for public health, said that the fines have been associated with a nearly 100 percent increase in compliance with reporting, the Post noted, saying it went from 50 percent to about 98 percent after the fines were levied.

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The documents include reports that cover infection control problems found in nine emergency preparedness surveys conducted in late April and early May by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan, told the Post that as of Friday evening, 11,999 staff and residents at Maryland long-term care facilities have been infected with the virus, while the death toll of more than 1,700 in the facilities comprises 60 percent of total mortality in the state.

While Phillips said nursing homes received a several-day grace period after the reporting system went online before fines took effect, Joseph DeMattos, president of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland, told the Post that the state did not acknowledge documents were filed in the initial weeks following the order, complicating facilities’ efforts to make sure the state had received their data.

“There likely were instances where nursing homes did not file the … report on time because they were actually focused on real-time hands-on care,” DeMattos said.

The state provided the Post with the results of nine CMS preparedness surveys and found that five facilities were in compliance and another four were not. Phillips told the Post she was unsure whether the nine facilities were the only ones CMS surveyed.