Nursing homes in the Bronx and Queens have suffered some of the highest COVID-19 death tolls in New York, according to news reports published in April. One of “the hardest hit” nursing homes, as described by the Riverdale Press, is Kings Harbor Multicare Center in Pelham Gardens.
Kings Harbor Multicare Center suffered 45 deaths as of April 18, per a survey conducted by the State of New York. In an interview with Al Jazeera, the facility’s medical director, Dr. Roy Goldberg, said “These have been surreal times, and we are suffering, as is everybody else.” The state had previously issued a requirement for nursing homes “to inform patients and their families within 24 hours if a resident got the virus or died,” according to Al Jazeera, as numerous facility administrators had “declined to release information” up to that point. State authorities stressed that nursing homes that fail to release information may receive civil fines.
Al Jazeera spoke with Chris Laxton, the executive director of the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, who said he believes COVID-19’s proliferation through nursing homes was underreported. He told the publication: “Growth in both cases and deaths is to be expected, even as the surge begins to level off in the community and in hospitals… We continue to be in urgent need of PPE, especially gowns, test kits, and surge staff, to limit staff from traveling between buildings and risking additional spread.”
A New York Post article published on April 17, 2020 reported that more than 1,100 residents had died at only 72 facilities; that 3,316 total “elderly nursing residents” died from COVID-19 at nursing homes, adult day care facilities, or hospitals; and that there were a total of 6,475 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in licensed nursing home facilities.
According to Kings Harbor Multicare Center’s Department of Health profile, the facility received 16 citations for violations of health and safety codes between 2016 and 2020. One of those citations concerned findings that the nursing home violated Section 483.80 of the Federal Code, which requires nursing homes to maintain infection prevention and control procedures designed to mitigate the development and transmission of communicable diseases and infections. According to the citation, a state inspector observed “unbagged soiled linens such as towels, gowns, blankets, and bed sheets” in the facility’s external garbage area, as well as uncovered racks of clean laundry in a hallway. The citation states that these deficiencies had the “potential to cause more than minimal harm” to facility residents.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC work diligently to protect the rights of nursing home residents. Please contact us to discuss in the event you have a potential case involving neglect or abuse.