Report Paints Scathing Picture of Nursing Home Where 17 Bodies Piled Up

By Tracey Tully and 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

May 7, 2020

At least 53 residents at the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center II in New Jersey have died since March after testing positive for the coronavirus.Credit...

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One patient at a troubled nursing home in northern New Jersey was found dead in bed, 12 hours after falling on a wet floor and suffering a head injury. Rigor mortis had set in. The patient had suffered from a high fever for days, but a doctor was never told.

Sick residents who were awaiting the results of coronavirus tests shared rooms with healthy residents.

And thermometers used to take employees’ temperatures at the start of each shift did not work.

Those were among the findings of a federal inspection last month of the nursing home, Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center II, now the site of one of the largest outbreaks of the virus in New Jersey.

The report, released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, offers the first detailed glimpse into how the pandemic has ravaged nursing homes across the country.

The privately owned nursing home was found to have placed its residents in “immediate jeopardy” and has been fined $220,000. The median fine by the federal agency over the last three years was $13,000.

The report was released on the same day that members of the National Guard arrived in Andover, N.J., to assist at the nursing home, a 543-bed facility that has been chronically short of staff and masks and has over the last two years received poor grades from federal and state inspectors.

At least 53 of its residents have died since March after testing positive for the virus.

An employee at the Andover home said they were told to expect 22 National Guard members whose duties would include cleaning and disinfecting. Over the past week, residents have complained that clothing and bedsheets had not been washed.

“It’s not sanitary,” said Jewell Jones, whose brother, Ronald Young, 69, is a resident. “The lights were out, flies in the room. We’re just worried about him all the time.”

She said staff members had been more responsive since last month, when federal and state inspectors began a review after the police found 17 bodies piled in a small morgue and employees reported that conditions were dire.

The police had gone to the home after getting an anonymous tip that a corpse was stored in a shed.

The facility has been temporarily barred since last month from accepting new patients, and penalties will continue accruing daily until it addresses problems cited in the report related to infection control. The nursing home generated $42 million in 2018, mostly from Medicare and Medicaid, according to federal records.

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