A Washington state skilled nursing facility that was the site of the first coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is facing a $611,000 fine following a federal investigation on the cause of the breakout.
Life Care Center of Kirkland, which currently has an overall 5-star rating on Nursing Home Compare, said it has removed three Immediate Jeopardy citations since the investigation and is working to address all concerns in a timely fashion.
“The federal administrative process provides a means for us to dispute any findings which we believe are incorrect, and we believe some are here. However, we will follow [the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’] process and not address our responses in the public,” Life Care said in a statement.
Life Care received a $13,585 penalty per day for alleged deficiencies dating back to Feb. 12. The fine could be raised or lowered spending on Life Care’s compliance with a correction plan, according to a report by the Washington Post.
In a letter, CMS said the federal investigation alleged the facility failed to report an outbreak of respiratory illness to local authorities for two weeks, gave inadequate care to its residents during the outbreak and failed to provide 24-hour emergency doctor services, the report said. The facility also allegedly failed to follow infection control protocols required to prevent infection, allowing the disease to spread.
The deaths of 37 people have been linked to the facility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.