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nursing homes

gretchen whitmer and joneigh khaldun at podium
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Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bills into law Thursday that show Democrats and Republicans can find room to cooperate on the state’s response to COVID-19.

The bills are the result of bipartisan deal-making. They offer employers more protection from lawsuits and employees more guarantees they can’t be forced to work in situations that could place their health in danger.

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued an order to allow more in-person visits with people in nursing homes.

The order applies to facilities in counties the state has identified as “low risk.”

nurse holding stethoscope checking heartbeat of elder patient
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Once again, a major strike involving as many as 1,000 metro Detroit nursing home workers appears to have been averted at the last minute, and is now expected to include just 60 or so employees at a single nursing home. 

That’s because tentative agreements were reached with at least two nursing home chains over the weekend, ahead of the strike planned for Monday.

 

RAWPIXEL

Researchers at the University of Michigan say nursing homes might respond better to a second surge of COVID-19 if they have strong formal relationships with local hospitals and health officials. 

A new study looks at how three nursing homes in Washtenaw County responded to COVID-19 outbreaks in April.

 

gretchen whitmer sitting at table
michigan.gov

Today on Stateside, what we’ve learned about the accused conspirators in what prosecutors call a terrorist plot against Governor Gretchen Whitmer and other state leaders. Also, families separated by the coronavirus pandemic get some relief as the state begins loosening restrictions on nursing home visits.

GUNDULA VOGEL / PIXABAY

In August, during a drive-through parade at the Medilodge of St. Clair nursing home, Jane Ogden jumped from her idling car, popped open a beer, and rushed it to a wheelchair-bound man in a t-shirt and pajama bottoms. “Drink it quickly,” she said, “or they might take it away from you.” 

She squeezed her dad’s arm and made to return to the car. Ogden ran into a nurse, who mildly reprimanded her. But she felt, after months of lockdown, that her dad needed the excitement. 

 

STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is tweaking how the state decides which nursing facilities can safely accept recovering COVID-19 patients. 

Under an executive order issued on Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will replace regional hub facilities with “care and recovery centers.”

 

The two are essentially the same.

 

Both of them — recovery centers and regional hubs — are isolation wings within nursing homes where residents with COVID-19 can recover. Both are supposed to be able to accept COVID patients from long-term care facilities that aren’t able to set up an isolation wing, or from hospitals, when patients can’t safely return to the facility where they live.

 

METRON OF CEDAR SPRINGS

Visitation restrictions at long-term care facilities will ease up slightly on September 15. 

An order from the state health department will allow certain skilled nursing facilities, homes for the aged, and other long-term care facilities to hold outdoor visits for their residents, while maintaining safety measures such as distancing and mask-wearing requirements. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan will allow more families to visit loved ones in nursing homes and other residential facilities.

The state imposed restrictions on nursing home visits to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan's nursing homes. About a third of the state's coronavirus fatalities have been among people in long-term care facilities.   

LESTER GRAHAM / MICHIGAN RADIO

The Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic heard testimony Wednesday on recommendations issued last week by the state’s nursing home task force.

State lawmakers spent about an hour questioning Henry Ford Health System’s Dr. Betty Chu, who co-chaired the nursing home task force, about the report. 

 

RAWPIXEL

For the second week in a row, a comprehensive report has been released recommending how Michigan’s health department could better manage COVID-19 in nursing homes. 

Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

With the end of a 30-day contract negotiation period with nursing home operators nearing, a group of a few dozen nursing home workers, health care employees, and union leaders rallied in Detroit on Monday, both to call attention to ongoing labor disputes and to encourage workers to vote in November. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are out with new nursing home legislation a day after a task force delivered its own recommendations for the industry.

Michigan’s nursing homes have been hard hit by COVID-19. Residents in care facilities account for about a third of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths.

GUNDULA VOGEL / PIXABAY

A task force charged with recommending how nursing homes should manage COVID-19 in the event of a second wave submitted its report to Governor Gretchen Whitmer this week.

nurse holding stethoscope checking heartbeat of elder patient
Rawpixel.com

Michigan’s Attorney General is warning the operators of senior living facilities against charging a special COVID-19 fee.

This week, the attorney general’s office sent out cease and desist notices to eleven senior facilities after receiving nearly 40 complaints from residents and family members about a special $900 fee.

The U.S. Justice Department is asking for data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths from Michigan and other states.

The agency says it’s evaluating whether to initiate investigations under the federal Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), which protects the civil rights of persons in state-run nursing homes, among others.

SEIU Healthcare Michigan

More than a thousand nursing home workers from more than a dozen facilities in the Detroit area will not go on strike today as planned, their union announced suddenly this morning, after Governor Gretchen Whitmer asked nursing home operators and union leaders to engage in “good faith” negotiations over the next 30 days. 

 

Eddie Griffith / Flickr

 

Some 1,600 workers from 18 Detroit-area nursing homes will go on an all-day, all-shifts, indefinite strike on August 17 to demand an end to what they say are “poverty wages,” inadequate personal protective equipment, and dangerously low levels of staffing, according to the union SEIU Healthcare Michigan.

More than 2,000 nursing home residents and 22 staff members have been killed during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to state data.

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Today on Stateside, a conversation with two Black farmers about the causes and consequences of systemic racism in the agriculture industry. Also, an update from the Michigan Radio newsroom on what we know about COVID infections in nursing homes.

UNSPLASH

All but one of Michigan’s 21 regional hubs for nursing home patients recovering from COVID-19  have been cited for an infection-control deficiency in the last four years, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Four of those facilities were cited for infection-control violations that occurred in the weeks just before the state designated them as hubs. 

 

MICHIGAN.GOV

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed a bill that would have had serious implications for nursing home residents recovering from COVID-19. 

Senator Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Charter Township) was the bill’s sponsor. He’s says that the governor’s policy of placing recovering COVID patients in so-called regional hubs has resulted in loss of lives. 

REP. LESLIE LOVE

Michigan’s House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that seeks to establish entirely separate facilities for nursing home residents with COVID-19. 

The state Senate has already voted in favor of the bill.

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Workers at five nursing homes in metro Detroit say they'll walk off the job today to protest working conditions.

Trece Andrews is a certified nursing assistant at Regency at St. Clair Shores. 

THE U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

Labs that process COVID-19 tests in Michigan are taking several days to get results back to nursing homes, according to the state health department.

More facilities are testing residents and staff in order to comply with a June directive from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

 

That order requires facilities with active COVID-19 cases to test staff and residents weekly until 14 days have passed since the last positive test. Facilities in medium to high-risk parts of the state — as of Friday, all of them — must test staff weekly, regardless of whether the virus has been detected. 

 

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Every weekday at 2 p.m., 81-year-old Gladys Acklin settles into her couch to watch the soap opera “General Hospital.” 

“We both like Sonny,” she says. “He’s the mobster.... And his hit man Jason. We like him too. We like all the crooks.” 

 

When Ms. Acklin says we, she’s including Jean Reinbold, a social worker, but also a friend. Since the lockdown began back in March, Reinbold has been calling Ms. Acklin, who lives alone, quite a lot. 

TRINITY HEALTH SENIOR COMMUNITIES

The financial strain caused by COVID-19 is forcing a Muskegon nursing home to close its doors. In a press release issued Thursday, management said Sanctuary at the Park was less than half-full due to a reduction in hospital transfers. 

“Sanctuary at the Park was built and staffed for 99 residents, but currently is only caring for a very small number of individuals,” said administrator Julie Winkle, in the release. “This decline in residents and reduced hospital referrals due to COVID-19 make it unsustainable to continue operations.”

 

Sen. Peter Lucido

In an often emotional hearing that raised more questions than it answered, the state Senate health policy committee heard testimony on a bill that would prohibit nursing homes without COVID-19 positive patients from caring for patients with the disease. 

Nursing home residents account for more than one third of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths, according to the state health department. 

 

RAWPIXEL

Nearly 2,000 nursing home residents in Michigan have died of COVID-19, making up about 34% of the state’s total deaths from the disease. That figure was announced on Monday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

person in wheelchair being consoled
Gundula Vogel / Pixabay

Update: June 5, 2020 11:25 p.m.

Data released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about COVID-19 in U.S. nursing homes appears to be partially inaccurate. Michigan Radio’s data analyst Brad Gowland reviewed the federal agency’s numbers and found that for 32 skilled nursing facilities in Michigan, the total number of COVID-19 resident deaths was greater than the total number of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents.

elderly care giver
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Today on Stateside, as Northern Michigan and the UP reopened restaurants this past weekend, other businesses stayed closed. We speak with a hair stylist who wants to find a safe way to reopen. Plus, the difficulty of tracking the number of COVID-19 cases in elder care facilities.

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