ASHLAND — Local nursing home Brethren Care Village was fined 14 times by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services since last fall for failing to provide COVID-19 information to the CDC.
From Nov. 22, 2021 to March 14, 2022, Brethren Care Village was fined almost $39,000 total for failing to upload data about COVID-19 cases, vaccination rates, and equipment to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety System (NHSN).
Since May 2020, nursing homes have been required to upload this information to the NHSN every week to “ensure appropriate tracking, response, and mitigation of COVID-19 variants in nursing homes,” a spokesperson for the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said.
But in Nov. 2021, the two people responsible for uploading this data left Brethren Care Village, leaving the new administration without access to the NHSN, Brethren Care Village administrator Lori Marsh-Lykins said.
“It took many weeks to gain clearance, for the new staff to learn how to report through webinar education, and when the data was reported to NHSN, the information was reported untimely,” Marsh-Lykins said.
Despite the almost-weekly fines, Brethren Care Village was not aware they were noncompliant until March 14, 2022 when they received the final fine, Marsh-Lykins said.
Marsh-Lykins also stressed that the quality of care at Brethren Care Village did not diminish due to the reporting failures.
“Brethren Care Village, like all facilities, take COVID-19 very seriously by following all CDC and CMS guidelines provided to us at the time of implementation; including all updates as they occur. This was a lapse in reporting, not a lapse in care,” she said.
Going forward, Brethren Care Village has taken steps to ensure that multiple people have access to NHSN instead of just one person.
The last time Brethren Care Village was fined was in December 2020, when a CMS inspector found that nurses and staff at the home were not wearing proper eye protection to prevent COVID-19 spread at a time when 20 of the facility’s 58 residents were positive for the disease.