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Report: Kirkland nursing home fined $611,000 over failure to manage outbreak

Kirkland's Life Care Center. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Kirkland’s Life Care Center — widely viewed as the epicenter of Washington’s COVID-19 crisis — has been fined over $611,000 for a series of lapses in the early days of the outbreak.

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According to a report from The Washington Post, this comes from federal inspectors, who cited a “slew of deficiencies” that spurred the spread of the virus among residents of the nursing facility in February.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concluded Wednesday that Life Care Center did not properly report the outbreak for two weeks, provided “inadequate” care to its residents, and didn’t provide requisite round-the-clock emergency medical services.

That had inspectors fining the facility $13,585 for each day it had these deficiencies, spanning Feb. 12 through March 27. As of publishing, at least 37 Life Care residents have died from coronavirus.

If the nursing home fails to correct these issues and is not in “full compliance” by Sept. 16, 2020, it could lose its Medicare/Medicaid funding entirely.

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This all comes after an investigation in early March concluded that Life Care Center showed few signs it was prepared for the outbreak at all, with many visitors to the facility telling the Associated Press they hadn’t noticed any unusual precautions in the days leading into the initial spread of the virus.

While Life Care generally has a good rating with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, state inspectors last April found infection-control deficiencies following two flu outbreaks that affected 17 residents and staff. Life Care was fined $67,000 at the time. A follow-up inspection found that it had corrected the problems.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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