Area saw high fatalities

Mark Gutman/Daily News file photoThe Villages of Orleans has experienced 31 COVID-19 related deaths.

ALBION — The Villages of Orleans nursing home had the largest federal fine for COVID-related violations in New York State last year.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fined The Villages $66,623, by far the largest fined imposed on any nursing home facility in New York.

A nursing home in Manhattan had the second largest fine, $47,954. The third largest was $13,507 for a nursing home in Queens, according to date from the CMS.

No other nursing homes from Genesee, Orleans or Wyoming counties faced federal fines in 2020.

The fines were based on a New York State inspection done at The Villages in May after numerous complaints from staff and patients.

The state report found that the facility lacked personal protective equipment, went in and out of rooms with COVID-positive patients and failed to provide and maintain infection control protocols.

The state inspection resulted in a $20,000 fine against The Villages.

The Villages was hard-hit during the early months of the pandemic.

In all, 30 patients died and at least 90 tested positive for COVID.

CMS has issued nearly $18 million in fines across the country since the start of the pandemic, according to MedPage Today.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has fined 218 nursing homes more than $17.6 million for the most serious infection control violations that put residents in “immediate jeopardy.

That’s defined as conditions CMS believes are likely to seriously injure or kill them a resident.

The fine against The Villages was below the average fine imposed.

According to MedPage, the analysis of the latest federal data showed nursing homes with some of the highest penalties since January includded the Pennwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Pennsylvania, which was fined $983,840.

Life Care Center of St. Louis in Missouri was fined $495,900, while Brenham Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Texas was fined $427,000, and Riverside Health Care Center in Georgia was hit with $384,199.

The average fine levied was $91,987, according to MedPage Today.

The impact of the penalties has been cushioned by $20 billion in federal funding, free PPE and other supplies, testing machines, and technical assistance to nursing homes, according to MedPage.

“What we’re telling nursing homes is that we’re going to support you,” CMS Director Seema Verma told MedPage. “But if we find repeat offenses, we have a statutory responsibility to enforce health and safety regulations.

“What we want to do is always work with a nursing home to help and we want to support them. But when nursing homes are repetitively non-compliant, that [fine] is one tool in our toolbox and one that we will leverage when appropriate.”

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