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North Carolina has $35 million in unused nursing home fines

This article first appeared on North Carolina Health News and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Federal regulators can fine North Carolina nursing homes upward of a half-million dollars when facilities go seriously wrong — as in the case of a Fayetteville resident who died after staff found her with fire ants covering her face and upper body.

The deadly 2019 incident described in state records brought a fine of more than $530,000 against Carolina Rehab Center of Cumberland. Federal law mandates that the fines, amounting to $35 million in N.C., must be used to improve quality of life for nursing home residents through grants to facilities and agencies.

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Fines levied after an investigation into the fire-ant attack went into state coffers set up for this purpose, into a pot that bulges larger year after year and puts North Carolina third highest in such totals nationally.

But why

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Feds unveil plan to ‘reduce suffering’ for nursing home residents and staff

An independent commission set up by the Trump administration has unveiled a host of recommendations it says could help nursing homes “reduce the suffering and to save the lives of residents and staff” as they continue to wage a deadly battle against the coronavirus, though some critics say the commission didn’t go far enough to help America’s most vulnerable because it does not address enforcement of federal quality of care standards.



a person sitting at a table in front of a curtain: Certified Nursing Assistant Rachael Moreau helps Katherine Lapre at Brandon Woods nursing home in South Dartmouth, Mass., June 14, 2019.


© Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe via Getty Images, FILE
Certified Nursing Assistant Rachael Moreau helps Katherine Lapre at Brandon Woods nursing home in South Dartmouth, Mass., June 14, 2019.

In April, as the coronavirus pandemic swept through nursing homes across the country, Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, announced the commission would be tasked with enhancing strategies for infection control and prevention and strengthen protocols to identify COVID-19 in facilities and mitigate its spread. The

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Nursing Home Commission Recommends Improvements for U.S. Covid-19 Response

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An ambulance pulls up outside of the Cobble Hill Health Center on April 18, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City during the coronavirus pandemic.


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An independent commission set up by the Trump administration to assess the impact of Covid-19 on nursing homes released dozens of recommendations on Wednesday but also revealed divisions over how to respond to the crisis.

The final report from the commission, which was established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in April, recommended immediate improvements to systems for testing and supplies of protective equipment, and changes for safe visitation, among other steps.

“To reduce suffering and to save the lives of residents and staff, CMS can implement or initiate the commission’s actionable recommendations in relatively short order,” the report said.

But the report does little to raise standards or ensure accountability for nursing homes, said some members

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Nursing home transferring residents following COVID-19 outbreak at facility

All residents at a Connecticut nursing home are being moved following a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility, which has resulted in 28 hospitalizations and four deaths since late July, according to the Connecticut Department of Health.



a person standing next to a door: A resident on a wheelchair is seen in a corridor at "Les Figuiers" retirement home (Ehpad - Housing Establishment for Dependant Elderly People) amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Villeneuve-Loubet, France, September 16, 2020.


© Eric Gaillard/Reuters
A resident on a wheelchair is seen in a corridor at “Les Figuiers” retirement home (Ehpad – Housing Establishment for Dependant Elderly People) amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Villeneuve-Loubet, France, September 16, 2020.

An emergency order issued by Deidre Gifford, acting director of the state’s department of health, called for the immediate discharge and transfer of all residents of the Three Rivers Nursing Home in Norwich, Connecticut.

“Today marks a very sad but necessary step we must take to keep the residents of this nursing home safe and healthy,” Gifford in a statement Wednesday. “This represented a risk to the health and safety of residents and staff and

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Posted in home repair

State to close nursing home after deadly COVID-19 outbreak

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FILE – In this Dec. 14, 2019, file photo, Newtown’s Mike Ricks (11) blocks Darien’s Sam Wilson (9) as the during the Class LL state high school football championship at Trumbull High School in Trumbull, Conn. After the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference failed to convince state health officials in an early September 2020 meeting that it could mitigate the risk of players spreading the new coronavirus by using face shields and requiring other safety protocols, the organization that oversees high school sports in Connecticut has once again voted to cancel the fall football season.

AP

Connecticut’s Department of Public Health has issued an emergency order that will close a Norwich nursing home where officials allege violations of COVID-19 protocols have led to several deaths.

Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford said Wednesday’s unprecedented order to remove all 53 patients from Three Rivers Health Care Nursing Home came

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Posted in home repair

Ex Waltham Nursing Home Staff Accused Of Stealing From Resident

WALTHAM, MA —A former Waltham nursing home administrator was indicted in connection with accusations that she tried to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from an elderly resident, and used the money for repairs to her home, restaurants and vacations, Attorney General Maura Healey said Monday.

Christina Polcari, 54, of Belmont a former admissions director at the Meadow Green Nursing Home in Waltham, was indicted by a Middlesex County Grand Jury for one count of larceny over $1,200, five counts of forgery and one count of embezzlement by fiduciary, according to Healey’s office.

Between August 2018 until May 2019 misappropriated more than $230,000 of a nursing home resident’s funds and spent the money on personal expenses such as repairs to her home, restaurants, cash withdrawals, and vacations for her and her family, Healey said.

Investigators accuse Polcari of using the resident’s forged signature for promissory notes, letters, and checks in

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Former administrator at Meadow Green Nursing Home in Waltham stole $230K from resident to pay for family vacations and other expenses, authorities say

A former administrator at a Massachusetts nursing home was accused this week of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from an elderly resident and using the money to pay for family vacations, home repairs and other expenses, authorities said.

Christina Polcari, the former admissions director at the Meadow Green Nursing Home in Waltham, was charged in connection with the scheme to steal $230,000 from the resident, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Monday.

Authorities claimed that from August 2018 to May 2019, Polcari spent the resident’s funds on personal expenses, including repairs to her home, restaurants, cash withdrawals and vacations for her and her family.

She is accused of using a forged signature for various promissory notes, letter and checks to cover up the theft, Healey’s office said in a statement.

The nursing home administrator left her position in May 2019 when officials at the facility found out about

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Posted in home

How you can help us remember Indiana’s COVID-19 nursing home victims

Did a family member or loved one die after contracting COVID-19 in an Indiana nursing home?

Introducing ‘Careless,’ an IndyStar investigation of Indiana’s nursing homes

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If so, we would like to share their photograph, and possibly their story, to raise awareness about conditions in these homes. The effort is part of an ongoing IndyStar investigation.

To participate, or ask questions, email us at coronavirus@indystar.com.

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

Please send us a recent photograph and some basic biographical information, including your loved one’s name, age, date of death, name of nursing home, and a little bit about their interests, activities or life. Also please include your name and contact information.



a graffiti covered wall: Indiana receives more supplemental Medicaid nursing home funds than any other state. A new IndyStar probe looks at what we're getting for the money.


© Stephen J. Beard
Indiana receives more supplemental Medicaid nursing home funds than any other state. A new IndyStar probe looks at what

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