The Annandale Blog article posted earlier this month on the unhealthy conditions at the Annandale Healthcare Center has gotten the attention of Rep. Gerry Connolly.
That facility, at 6700 Columbia Pike, Annandale, has had the biggest outbreak of COVID-19 among nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) lists the Annandale Healthcare Center as having had 156 cases and 55 deaths among residents and staff.
'Patterns of misconduct'
In a letter to Laurie Forlano, deputy commissioner of population health at the VDH, Connolly says a survey of the facility found that it “failed to ensure infection control measures were consistently implemented to prevent the development and/or transmission of a communicable disease (COVID-19) among staff and residents.”
No one at the VDH – or the Fairfax County Health Department, which also received Connolly’s letter –has so far responded.
Connolly notes that a survey in May found staff at the Annandale Healthcare Center failed to adequately implement their planned screening process at shift change, maintain social distancing, dispose of personal protective equipment, properly store reusable PPE, or perform appropriate hand hygiene.
While the facility has provided a plan of correction, the letter states, “recent allegations suggest that the facility may require further support and that there are patterns of misconduct and mismanagement that endanger the health of residents and employees.”
Connolly provides examples of shortcomings at the Annandale Healthcare Center described in the Annandale Blog, including staff members not wearing proper PPE and residents confined to their rooms with little opportunity for exercise or activity. The letter also mentions past incidents of neglect and mismanagement cited the blog, including mice and ant infestations, improper plumbing, and mishandling of medications.
“These allegations, from before and during the pandemic, have led to residents believing that the facility’s inadequate precautions have contributed to the facility’s high rate of COVID-19 cases and deaths,” Connolly writes.
The letter also cites examples from the Annandale Blog and NBC4 about family members whose loved ones died of COVID-19 and believe the Annandale Healthcare Center should have taken more preventive actions.
“I ask that these allegations are immediately and thoroughly investigated to determine if the Annandale Healthcare Center has put their plan of correction in place and whether the deficiencies outlined in the May report of the surveys persist,” Connolly states.
He also asks VDH to clarify the classification of the Annandale Healthcare Center’s COVID-19 outbreak as “pending closure,” while there are reports of more recent COVID cases.
Tammie Smith, a spokesperson at the VDH told the Annandale Blog, “the data is updated daily.” The date listed online, April 9, “is when VDH was first notified of the outbreak but the data is what we know to be the situation as of now.”
A lot of federal CARES Act money went to long-term care facilities, says Jamie Smith, Connolly’s chief of staff. “They need to have the most up-to-date data. They need to be transparent; they need to be accountable.”