Underreported Deaths Just One Issue in Local Facilities
As of June 5, 2020, almost 1/3 of COVID-19-related deaths in Nevada nursing homes had not yet been reported. Even with this underreporting, local media outlets like News Break have documented 467 officially confirmed deaths in the state.
Tragically, many of these deaths have happened right here in Las Vegas. One local nursing home, The Heights of Summerlin, has lost at least 26 residents, with 123 confirmed cases as of May 12, 2020. Another Las Vegas facility, Horizon Health and Rehabilitation Center, had lost 7 residents and had at least 38 infections as of May 24.
Who Is to Blame?
In an expose from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, reporters allege that Horizon Health did not respond to the threat of COVID-19 appropriately, even after 2 of their residents were hospitalized and tested positive for the disease. According to a 29-page investigative report form the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, the 138-bed facility failed to isolate residents with COVID-19 from their roommates and other residents. Further, the facility allegedly moved residents who had been exposed to the disease into rooms with people who had no exposure. Staff did not have personal protective equipment (PPE) and the situation quickly spiraled out of control.
Although state health officials have asked Horizon to take corrective action, these changes do little to help the residents who were already harmed. With 20-30% of virus-related deaths occurring in nursing homes, this kind of behavior is unacceptable.
The conduct at The Heights of Summerlin is under an open investigation, and therefore, less publicized, but the numbers do not lie. As of May 21, the state of Nevada confirmed 133 cases of the virus at the facility, and 49% of residents and 29% of staff were infected. This nursing home alone accounts for about 1/4 of the virus-related deaths at all state-regulated institutions. The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health is currently investigating the skilled nursing facility.
Infection control problems have been a pattern at nursing homes nationwide, and they existed even before the coronavirus. Administrators are quick to cite understaffing, unclear guidelines, and other excuses to account for their mishandling of COVID-19, but the fact is most nursing homes are not meeting federal standards for infection control and reporting.
Many argue the coronavirus crisis is simply highlighting weak spots in an already dysfunctional system. At the Law Office of Steven M. Burris, we believe careless facilities should be held accountable.
Has Your Loved One Been Affected by COVID-19?
If your elderly relative resides at The Heights of Summerlin, Horizon Health and Rehabilitation Center, or another Las Vegas nursing home, find out what the facility is doing to keep your loved one safe. If you are not satisfied with the answer or your loved one has already been diagnosed with COVID-19, call the Law Office of Steven M. Burris to discuss your legal options.
We also may be able to help you if your loved one succumbed to the coronavirus. While we are so sorry you are going through this difficult time, we do want to help you get through it and find justice.
Call us at (702) 529-3101 or contact us online for a free consultation.