Mark Parkinson discussed on KTOK Programming


Nursing homes have borne the brunt of the corona virus pandemic in this country and some of the saddest scenes have been of seniors passing away with their families unable to be alongside them joining us now mark Parkinson the head of the nation's largest associations of nursing homes and long term care facilities this Parkinson a New York times study found that one third more than a third of all the gas in this country from Colbert nineteen have been in nursing homes and long term care facilities obviously the elderly are especially vulnerable population incidently this wasn't just patience this was also some of the workers at that nursing homes but why it beyond that vulnerability why do you think such a high percentage of all the doubts have been in these facilities well Chris you're right this is been a horrible tragedy and for those of us to take care of older people our entire life it's been almost unspeakable what we've learned from looking around the world is that any place where people live closely together whether it's convents war dormitories or cruise ships are nursing homes they're particularly vulnerable it's because of one very unique feature to this virus and that is that this virus unlike any other that we fought before a person can catch it show no symptoms and yet still spread it so in January February March when when we didn't know that we had visitors coming into our buildings we had staff members in our buildings closely interacting with residents as they need to to take care of them and we were unwittingly spreading the virus within the communities once the academic community and doctors figured out that you could be a symptomatic and carry it it was too late for a lot of people and unfortunately even then we didn't have the test to figure out who had it the good news that I can get this one were now in recovery there Chris I just want to point out that that the trump administration just on Friday allocated five billion dollars secretaries or deputy Sir secretary Hargan that's going to allow us to recover and really make this better I want to point out another issue however the government accountability office issued a report this week I want to put the numbers up on the screen it found that eighty two percent of nursing homes over thirteen thousand had been cited for infection control issues from twenty thirteen to twenty seventeen so the question Mr Parkinson didn't your facilities have a problem in this particular area long before the pandemic cath well we have a real flawed survey system and one of the flaws of the survey system is the surveyors are encouraged to give deficiencies and what that does is it creates the impression that even very good buildings are not good it makes it hard for consumers to figure out what buildings are good and which aren't when everybody gets deficiencies that same GAO report reported that ninety nine percent of those deficiencies were not severe they did not affect patient safety and many of them were just paperwork issues the reality is that the coronavirus violates all of the normal concepts of infection control because normal infection control is symptom related now that we know that we are adjusting our behavior and that is why we're starting to see recovery in people actually getting better visitors are no longer allowed to come into buildings in every interaction patients and and staff now have mask on Asians residents are not eating together in the same room they're eating privately in their own rooms so that now that we understand the very vicious nature of this virus were able to control it much better nursing homes in New York and New Jersey have been especially hard hit by the pandemic as well as the entire states and in late March governor Cuomo issued an order that nursing homes must accept Colbert nineteen patients to try to alleviate and prevent overcrowding at hospitals here's how the governor describe dad explained it this way the CDC guidance at a nursing home cannot discriminate against covert patients because at that time the issue was hospital capacity right remember hospital capacity and we were dramatically increasing hospital capacity did it governor Cuomo will have to follow that CDC guidance or did he have a choice and what about other governors and how they handle the CDC guidance around the country well like I I've been a governor in the time of the crisis so I understand sometimes you have to make decisions based on incomplete information at that time that governor Cuomo made that decision he was being told by the epidemiologist at his hospitals were going to be overrun with COPD patients in hindsight we now though that was not the case that was actually cut the capacity there they didn't need to be discharged to nursing homes in hindsight it was an error into governor Cuomo's credit he has now reversed that policy fortunately we were able to convince most of the other governors across the country tonight institute that policy and I think that's part of the reason for starting to see recovery but in fact he did have a choice he didn't have to follow the CDC guidance anyway yeah I mean in hindsight you know our suggestion to him at the time was that he don't didn't do that I think in hindsight he would say that it was for it was a an error it was an error again based upon incomplete and inaccurate information the country was too concerned with hospitals being over run and there were consequences to that one of the consequences is that nursing homes were left out our residents were not a high priority for testing we weren't given the equipment that we needed no there needs to be some accountability for all of these people that were making these fantastic estimates that the entire hospital system across the country was gonna be over run it wasn't and there are consequences that unfortunately we're seeing how residents were one of the consequences I want to pick up on the first point you made which is that we didn't know at the very beginning a lot of the particularly terrifying and dangerous aspects of the corona virus and one of them is that people could be a symptomatic and and go into a hospital without any sign that real and then still spread the virus to these very sick people all of that with the result as you've locked down is we've seen these terrible scenes where for their own good residents are kept away from their families and some of them get very sick some of them passed away and their families can't be with them when that happens what are your thoughts about re opening nursing homes leading families be with the residents and under what structures under what restrictions so that the families can be together but you're not endangering the lives of of all the patients inside these facilities yeah we we realize how hard it's been for family members and for residents to not be able to be getting together and you know we try to offer face time and all sorts of other alternatives but there is just no alternative to being together and then the tragic scenes of people dying without their loved ones it's just it's it's horrible the most important thing is that we need to keep cobra down in the communities of the nursing homes are in if you're in a nursing home within a community that has very little code but there's not that huge risk of it getting into the buildings if we spike back up in covert cases though we're gonna end up with more covert a nursing home so issue one is let's keep coping down in the communities issue two S. let's get adequate testing so that we can get a test of every staff member every president and then ideally if we can get on site testing throughout the summer so that when people come in they get a test we know that their code free that would be the ideal but we do recognize it's extremely important to get these folks back with their families this Parkinson thank you thanks for taking time out to talk with us this weekend and good luck in your efforts to reopen these nursing home Sir thank you very much up next we'll bring in.

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