Retirement Community was fined $156,419 in 2018
(LITITZ, Pa.-LititzDailyNews.com) Two staff members at United Zion Retirement Community have tested positive for COVID-19. The UZRC website COVID-19 page, which at the time of publication of this story had not been updated since April 17, did not reference any staff having tested positive. No response to phone or email requests for comment from a UZRC representative made on Tuesday, April 21 were received as of publication time.
When reached this morning, a UZRC representative would neither confirm nor deny the information on the record, but indicated a statement from the facility was forthcoming. UPDATE: After this story was published, UZRC posted a statement confirming infections “a few team members,” but failed to specify an exact number.
In 2018, United Zion Retirement Community was fined $156,419 by the state after a resident sustained a broken neck as the result of a fall deemed failure by UZRC staff to protect the resident from neglect, according to reports on Propublica.com, Pennsylvania DOH records, and federal records found on Medicare.gov. Staff at UZRC also failed to report the injury to the state Department of Aging as required under laws that protect residents from abuse and neglect.
“Based on review of documentation submitted by the facility, clinical record review and staff interview, it was determined that the facility failed to report an allegation of suspected abuse that resulted in serious physical injury to the Department of Aging for one of four residents reviewed,” the report reads on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
UZRC operates a nursing care facility with 59 beds, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and offers residential living cottages and apartments, personal care and skilled nursing services, according to its website.
Multiple Lititz retirement communities have had employees and residents test positive for the disease, including Brethren Village and Landis Homes, where residents who tested positive have died from COVID-19. Employees have also tested positive at Luther Acres.
As of noon today, April 21, there are at least 60 employees at 22 nursing homes in Lancaster County who have tested positive for coronavirus according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health website. It is unclear at this time if this statistic includes the UZRC employees and whether their test results were reported to the state.
To date, the state reports that 291 cases COVID-19 have been reported among residents of long-term care facilities in Lancaster County and 56 deaths of residents positive for COVID-19 in these settings.
Though multiple media outlets and family members have called on the state to reveal the names of facilities with known cases of COVID-19, the state has yet to do so. In a press conference today, Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine again responded that the state was looking into releasing that data.
In the wake of a disturbing report that the bodies of 17 deceased patients were secretly stored in a New Jersey nursing home shed, Pennsylvania officials are urging facilities to be transparent and health care workers to report any violations anonymously to the PA Department of Health.
Secretary Dr. Levine has indicated during recent press conferences that employees with concerns regarding the care of seniors at long-term care or personal care facilities where they work should should notify the state at: 1-800-254-5164, use the online complaint form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone with concerns regarding care in a facility–residents, family, friends, caregivers, or vendors–may make a report to the state for investigation. Here’s how to reach the Pennsylvania DOH per info published on the DOH Nursing Home website:
How Do I File a Concern or Complaint?
- call 1-800-254-5164
- use the online complaint form
- email email@example.com
- send mail to:
Division of Nursing Care Facilities Director
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Division of Nursing Care Facilities
625 Forster St., Room 526, Health and Welfare Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0701
- fax 717-772-2163
Callers to the hotline (1-800-254-5164) may speak directly with a Department of Health professional. If we are unable to take your call, please leave a voice message that includes the name of the facility, the specific issue related to care and services provided to residents/patients, and any details required for a thorough investigation to be completed. Callers must leave their name and telephone number for staff to return the call. Identity will not be released to the facility by leaving contact information for a return call. For complaints regarding a personal care home or assisted living facility, call 877-401-8835.
NOTE: This story was updated for clarity after publication as a result of UZRC notifying the public today after LititzDailyNews.com requested confirmation of staff illness the afternoon of 4/21/2020.
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Lynn Rebuck is the editor and publisher of award-winning LititzDailyNews.com, the only independent digital news source in Lititz. Lynn is an award-winning photojournalist who was invited to the White House and has received top recognition from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and has been profiled in Editor & Publisher magazine for her unparalleled dedication to publishing LititzDailyNews.com to benefit the community.