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Largest nursing home provider changes tune on death, case information transparency

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Posted at 8:56 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 09:03:57-04

INDIANAPOLIS — In an apparent change of heart, the state’s largest provider of nursing home and senior care facilities will now share with the public where its residents and employees have died from COVID-19 and where outbreaks are happening.

American Senior Communities and Health and Hospital Corporation made the announcement Monday evening following several stories from Call 6 Investigates that raised questions about providers’ lack of transparency on COVID-19 case and death information.

PREVIOUS | Families push for transparency in nursing home deaths

Call 6 Investigates spoke with families at Greenwood Meadows who said they have had difficulty getting accurate information from the facility about the number of cases and deaths.

Greenwood Meadows’ operator American Senior Communities has repeatedly declined requests from RTV6 to release the information, broken down by facility.

In an about-face, Health and Hospital Corporation and its private-sector partner American Senior Communities, as of Monday night, is now posting the information on each facility’s website.

Greenwood Meadows shows 67 current cases of COVID-19 and 29 total deaths of employees and residents at the facility.

Click here to look up your loved one’s facility.

“Residents in nursing and assisted living facilities are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus,” said American Senior Communities CEO Donna Kelsey. “Until a vaccine is developed, the only way a person can avoid contracting the coronavirus is through social distancing and sheltering in place. However, residents in nursing facilities cannot engage in social distancing or shelter in place. Every day, by necessity, staff and other partners must come into a nursing facility to provide care to residents and to operate the facility. Even with methodical screening prior to each shift or visit, there is an inherent risk of introducing the coronavirus because so many people continue to pass the virus asymptomatically.”

PREVIOUS | Indiana nursing home death information to be made public despite the state’s efforts

HHC and ASC operate 78 skilled nursing facilities and five assisted living facilities across the state of Indiana.

The following data is current as of May 18, 2020:

  • Long term care residents: 6,959
  • Total COVID-19 tests completed: 6,060
  • Residents currently COVID-19 positive: 621
  • Residents recovered from COVID-19: 285
  • Resident deaths from COVID-19: 246
  • Facility employees: 10,287
  • Facility employees currently COVID-19 positive: 134
  • Facility employees recovered from COVID-19: 233
  • Additional staff hired since the pandemic began: 745

Read the entire statement released Monday night by ASC and HHC.

The Indiana State Department of Health still continues to refuse to provide breakdowns of nursing home deaths and cases by facility.

PREVIOUS | State doubles down on not providing nursing home specifics

Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney asked the following question at a news conference this month:

“We continue to hear from families who say the nursing home numbers they’re getting from facilities via email are not matching up with what the staff is telling them. Some are pushing for the state to post breakdowns by facility on the state’s dashboard. Meanwhile, more and more county health departments like Boone Johnson and Hendricks ARE releasing this information. What is your response to those families and now counties who say the public should see this information?”

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box responded to RTV6 with the following statement:

"The local public health officers and public health departments have the right to release the information if that's something they're comfortable with, and if they've worked with those institutions and they feel that's important for their community. I continue to support releasing aggregate data. And I continue to say we've posted on our website the availability for anyone who is having issues as a family member or a resident with getting this information, to reach out to us, and we will investigate that for them."

If your family's nursing home is not providing the number of cases and deaths at your loved one’s facility, you can report it to familyoutreach@isdh.in.gov.

Read the entire statement released Monday night by ASC and HHC:

HHC ASC Press Release FINAL 5 18 20 552pm (Text)