Yet again Buffalo and Western New York nursing homes have been found to violate minimum Covid safety rules, putting our seniors at unnecessary risk. Seven facilities in the Buffalo area have recently been fined by the New York State Department of Health for failing to meet safety rules put in place in to protect residents and staff from contracting the Covid-19 virus. The virus is often fatal to seniors and people with other health complications.
Since October of 2020 and as recent as March of this year, seven Buffalo nursing homes have been found to have been in violation of safety protocols designed to reduce exposure to the Covid virus for staff and nursing home residents. As a result, these facilities were fined housands of dollars, for Covid violations more than a year into the start of the pandemic.
After being labeled last fall as having one of the most damaging Covid-19 outbreaks in any nursing home throughout the country, Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Nursing Center of Williamsville recently received a $12,000 fine after 12 of its residents died and 76 more tested positive for Covid-19 since May 9th. This comes after the facility received a citation last October for failing to check their employees’ temperatures twice when they worked more than a 12 hour shift. With only seven months passing since then, the facility administration was found to have unreasonably dangerous procedures.
Many Buffalo area nursing homes were found to be failing to check the place temperatures for each 12 hour shift. Other Buffalo nursing homes which failed to follow temperature check protocols include Fox Run of Orchard Park and Western New York State Veterans Home, who were each fined $10,000 and $8,000 respectively. Checking temperature is a primary tool in determining whether an employee or resident potentially has Covid. If so, the person will then have the Covid test and kept away from others to limit Covid exposure. Recent violations have not been limited to failing to check employee temperatures. The Buffalo Community Healthcare Center—a facility tailored to caring for the elderly—was recently fined $8,000 after it was found that employees often failed to wear personal protective equipment and follow infection control policies. Although the facility had an ample supply of N95 masks, workers were seen not wearing them while working. Additionally, a $4,000 fine was placed on Greenfield Health and Rehab after staff failed to notify relatives of residents within 24 hours if a resident of the facility either died of Covid-19 or tested positive for the virus. The Ellicott Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Buffalo received a $2,000 fine after a nurse was permitted to work numerous shifts throughout January and February without being tested for Covid-19. A $4,000 fine was also given to the Harris Hill Nursing Center for violations of Covid-19 protocol extending from January to March. However, records of the violations have yet to be made available on the Health Department Website.
Despite the fact that over 14 months have passed since New York State began enacting regulations to prevent the spread of Covid-19, some Buffalo nursing homes have remained consistent in their failure to protect the safety of their residents. As a result, some of the most vulnerable and at-risk of our loved ones are placed at an unreasonable and preventable risk due to basic failures. The consequences of such lack of care extend not only to the residents of these homes, but to staff who are working under difficult circumstances and risk spreading the infection to their friends and family at home. If you have not been vaccinated yet, please consider getting vaccinated to protect friends, family and especially our seniors. You will be doing your part in returning us back closer to pre-Covid normalcy.