Ignoring The Law : Nursing Homes Not Reporting Employee Deaths
The pandemic has exposed the fact that some people just can’t seem to follow the law. Like the drivers doing 100 MPH on the freeway endangering everyone else.
Apparently, some nursing homes in the state don’t seem to care about exposing others to danger by refusing to accurately report the spread of deadly COVID-19 to the agencies that protect the residents of this great state.
According to a recent report, ALMOST HALF of nursing homes where employees have died have not reported deaths to Cal/OSHA. As of mid-December, 109 nursing homes have had employees die from COVID-19, according to Public Health’s database. However, only 45 of those facilities have notified Cal/OSHA of either a hospitalization or death.
The California Department of Public Health’s online dashboard shows more than 8,800 residents and an estimated 220 nursing home employees have died of COVID-19-related complications. A whopping 64 nursing homes have failed to report employee deaths. Nursing home resident or employee deaths must be reported to the California Department of Public Health. Though the agency’s online database lists the names of nursing homes where a worker has died of COVID-19, it does not state how many have died.
The Sacramento Bee reports that some nursing homes didn’t report deaths “because their in-house investigations concluded the employees had not been infected on the job”. Try that excuse on the next cop that pulls you over for speeding.
One-third of Californians who’ve filed COVID-related workers’ compensation claims are healthcare workers. Nearly 40% of these workers are employed by skilled-nursing facilities or residential-care facilities serving the elderly.
State law requires all employers to notify the Division of Occupational Safety and Health about all workplace-related hospitalization or death no matter whether it is a COVID-19 injury or not. Failure to do so can lead to a $5,000 fine.
Currently, Cal/OSHA and the California Department of Public Health do not exchange data, so nursing homes are apparently hoping they don’t get caught when an employee death occurs.
In September, 2020, Gov. Newsom signed AB 2644 into law, reducing the amount of time nursing homes have to report all deaths from infectious diseases to the Department of Public Health during an official emergency.
Hopefully, nursing homes will do a better job reporting real time data to the state so the agencies so they can get COVID-19 under control and save businesses, the health of California residents, and lives.