The largest nursing home operator in the United States announced that it is now requiring that its employees get the COVID vaccine. Genesis Healthcare, which employs 70,000 workers at 400 nursing homes nationwide, is taking a firm stand to protect residents at the risk of losing unwilling workers amid a staffing shortage.
“When you consider the deadly threat that unvaccinated employees present to vulnerable nursing home residents, there simply is no choice but to require vaccinations among the staff,” said Leah Barron, a found partner at Brown & Barron, a Baltimore law firm that specializes in nursing home law.
Nursing home residents were given the highest priority for vaccinations, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 81.8% of nursing home residents are fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, the staff at nursing homes in some states are lagging at half that rate, and the CDC estimates that only 59.3% of the country’s nursing home workers have received a vaccine.
Nursing homes were, by far, the deadliest place to be during the pandemic, with 133,513 COVID deaths among residents alone. Despite a lock down that banned almost all visitors and led to agonizing months of isolation, the disease continued to spread through infected workers. Just when it appeared that the nursing homes had the pandemic under control with steep drops in cases and death, the delta variant began a new surge of COVID illness and death. According the CDC, “the number of cases among U.S. nursing-home residents and staff roughly quadrupled from the week ending July 4 to the week ending Aug. 1,” as reported in the New York Times.
With the threat of this deadly new COVID variant and vaccine hesitancy among a disproportionate number of its workforce, the industry has been forced to consider the possibility of telling its workforce to get a vaccine or find another job. This was not an easy decision. Nursing home operators feared that the mandate would cause mass resignations among nursing home workers, who are already in short supply. Among the facilities that have announced such a vaccine requirement, relatively few have quit, according to reporting by the Baltimore Sun.
With a major provider like Genesis taking the step toward requiring vaccines, there is reason to believe that many other facilities and nursing home companies will follow suit. For nursing homes in Massachusetts and Denver, the decision will be even easier, because those states recently announced that all nursing homes in their states must require staff vaccination.
In Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan says the state is issuing an order requiring nursing homes to provide weekly, public reports on vaccination data for residents and staff.
Here are the 10 best and 10 worst facilities in Maryland regarding staff vaccination rates.
The Top 10
- Kensington Healthcare Center = 100 percent
- Manor Care Health Services - Chevy Chase = 100 percent
- Crescent Cities Nursing and Rehabilitation Center = 100 percent
- Maryland Baptist Aged Home = 100 Percent
- Brooke Grove Rehabilitation and Nursing Center = 98 Percent
- Edenwald Retirement Community = 98 Percent
- Maplewood Park Place = 97 percent
- Autumn Lake Healthcare At Cherry Lane = 97 percent
- Rockville Nursing Home = 96 percent
- Vantage House = 96 percent
The Bottom 10
- Cumberland Healthcare Center = 41 percent
- Sterling Care at Frostburg Village = 44 percent
- The Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at Stadium Place = 45 percent
- Dennett Road Manor = 46 percent
- Elkton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center = 48 percent
- Autumn Lake Healthcare at Chesapeake Woods = 48 percent
- Calvert Manor Center for Rehabilitation and Health = 49 percent
- Autumn Lake Healthcare at Denton = 49 percent
- Coffman Nursing Home = 49 percent
- Oakland Nursing and Rehabilitation Center = 51 percent
- Calvert County Nursing Center = 51 Percent
For the full report, click here.
Can Nursing Homes Be Held Accountable for COVID-19 Outbreaks?
At Brown & Barron, we are fighting to win justice for individuals who have been infected by COVID-19 due to nursing home negligence. While the courts have yet to lay out how Baltimore residents may hold nursing home management and staff liable for preventable COVID-19 outbreaks, there is still legal recourse available. Our skilled trial lawyers are advocating for the rights of these injured individuals in Baltimore and throughout the state of Maryland.
To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact Brown & Barron’s Baltimore attorneys online or at (410) 698-1717 for a free consultation.