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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

U.S. Senate Reports that Negligence of Nursing Homes Caused Thousands of Covid-19 Deaths

The United States Senate Finance Committee on September 23, 2020 issued a report titled "COVID-19 IN NURSING HOMES: What Went Wrong and Next Steps" outlining the widespread failure of nursing homes to adequately care for their residents which caused the deaths of over 50,000 elderly, vulnerable residents.

The extensive report details various failures in care, and negligence by the nursing homes, which directly caused thousands of deaths:

  • Nursing home owners and operators pay nursing staff low wages and therefore cannot recruit and retain quality nurses and aides;

  • Nursing homes often fail to sufficiently staff the facilities and the nurses and aides are assigned to more residents than they can handle, leading to "cutting corners" and a lack of quality care;

  • The majority of nursing homes are owned by "for profit" owners and operators whose primary objective is making money and keeping costs down, which has directly translated in a sharp increase in violations of federal and state nursing standards;

  • Many nursing home workers are employed at multiple facilities and transmitted the virus from one facility to another;

  • Pre-pandemic Infection Control and Prevention violations and deficiencies were "widespread and persistent";

  • Hundreds of nursing homes failed to adopt critically important infection control and prevention procedures, including: not properly isolating sick residents, using improper handwashing techniques, and not wearing masks or using other personal protective equipment, with over half of nursing facilities with being cited for violations multiple times over the course of several years;

  • There was a "totally unsafe" amount of staffing shortages at nursing homes during the pandemic;

  • State agencies (such as the New York State Department of Health" do not adequately regulate or enforce violations of the quality of care;

  • Nursing homes failed to properly screen staff and visitors increasing the potential for outsiders to transmit the virus within the facility;

  • Some governors, including in New York State, pressed nursing homes to accept infected residents during the pandemic in violation of the policy of the Centers for Centers for Disease Control - CDC (the report found that puzzlingly, New York’s governor adopted this policy even though the U.S. Navy sent an entire hospital ship staffed with a crew of 1,200 to treat COVID-19 patients to New York in early April. Even more puzzling, State officials did not rely on this resource in any truly meaningful way).

The United States Department of Justice is reportedly investigating New York State nursing homes' response to and handling of the pandemic, and there is legislation pending in the New York State legislature to establish an investigation committee to look into the wrongdoing.

Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC is an aggressive and innovative litigation and trial law firm uniquely skilled in prosecuting high-profile, complex lawsuits involving serious injuries and wrongful death. The Firm has specific interest in handling nursing home neglect and abuse and medical malpractice cases. In recent years, the Firm's Partners have recovered over $200 million on behalf of clients injured as a result of car and truck accidents, construction accidents (involving New York State Labor Law violations), slip/trip and falls, including the recovery of over $100 million alone in verdicts and settlements on behalf of the victims of nursing home neglect and abuse and medical malpractice.

Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC for more information about how we can assist with your case, or visit the Firm on the web at


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