Owner of KCK fa­cil­ity runs Wash. home tied to 22 dead

The Kansas City Star - - Front Page - BY LAURA BAUER, JUDY L. THOMAS AND NI­COLE AS­BURY [email protected]­star.com [email protected]­star.com nas­[email protected]­star.com

The Wyan­dotte County nurs­ing home at the cen­ter of Kansas’ first coro­n­avirus death is owned by the same com­pany that runs a skilled fa­cil­ity in Wash­ing­ton state linked to 22 virus fa­tal­i­ties.

The man in his 70s who died of the coro­n­avirus on Wed­nes­day had been liv­ing at the Life Care Cen­ter of Kansas City. Life Care Cen­ters of Amer­ica has fa­cil­i­ties in 28 states, in­clud­ing seven in Kansas and 10 in Mis­souri, and owns the nurs­ing home in Kirk­land, Wash­ing­ton, that has been a fo­cal point of the deadly virus.

Twenty-two peo­ple as­so­ci­ated with Life Care Cen­ter of Kirk­land have died of the new coro­n­avirus. More than 30 oth­ers have tested pos­i­tive for the virus at that fa­cil­ity.

Re­cent govern­ment in­spec­tion records show the Kansas City, Kansas, nurs­ing home has an over­all rat­ing of “much be­low aver­age,” re­ceiv­ing a score of 1 out of 5 stars.

Life Care Cen­ters of Amer­ica re­leased a de­tailed time­line to The Star Fri­day af­ter­noon of the Wyan­dotte County pa­tient’s last two weeks, which said he ar­rived at the nurs­ing fa­cil­ity on Feb. 25. He was trans­ferred there from Prov­i­dence Med­i­cal Cen­ter, where he had been treated for undis­closed rea­sons not re­lated to the coro­n­avirus.

On March 7, the com­pany said, he was taken to a lo­cal emer­gency room for “a med­i­cal is­sue en­tirely un­re­lated to symp­toms or signs of COVID-19.” He was taken back to the nurs­ing home the same day.

His med­i­cal con­di­tion changed ear­lier this week.

Af­ter the man “be­came un­re­spon­sive in our fa­cil­ity,” he was rushed on Tues­day to Prov­i­dence with acute car­diac symp­toms and a fever. Ac­cord­ing to the state­ment, the man did not ex­hibit signs or symp­toms of a res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness at the time.

“Our heart­felt con­do­lences go out to the friends and loved ones of this pa­tient,” the state­ment said.

The Wyan­dotte County fa­cil­ity was no­ti­fied by state of­fi­cials

at 4:30 p.m. Thurs­day that a post-mortem test showed the pa­tient — who died on Wed­nes­day — had tested pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus.

In a news con­fer­ence Fri­day af­ter­noon, the sec­re­tary of the Kansas De­part­ment of Health and En­vi­ron­ment said the death is the first known case in the state of “lo­cal trans­mis­sion.”

“The per­son got it in the com­mu­nity from some­body,” said Lee Nor­man at Fri­day’s brief­ing. “Prob­a­bly from some­body that had vis­ited that pa­tient.”

He said it’s im­por­tant to find out who had any con­tact with the man.

Nor­man said he was aware that the Wyan­dotte County fa­cil­ity is owned by the same com­pany that op­er­ates the Wash­ing­ton nurs­ing home. He said “we’ll fo­cus a lot” on whether there was any con­nec­tion be­yond that they have the same own­er­ship, such as “per­son­nel shar­ing.”

Re­cent govern­ment in­spec­tion records show the Kansas City, Kansas, nurs­ing home has an over­all rat­ing of “much be­low aver­age,” re­ceiv­ing a score of 1 out of 5 stars.

Records on the Medi­care.gov web­site also in­di­cate the Wyan­dotte County fa­cil­ity re­ceived 18 health de­fi­cien­cies as a re­sult of an Aug. 22 in­spec­tion, more than dou­ble the aver­age for both the U.S. and Kansas.

The cen­ter also re­ceived a “much be­low aver­age” rat­ing for staffing and a “be­low aver­age” rat­ing for health inspection­s, with a score of 2 out of 5 stars, ac­cord­ing to the agency’s nurs­ing home com­par­i­son site. It re­ceived an “aver­age” rat­ing — 3 out of 5 stars – for qual­ity mea­sures.

Nurs­ing homes that are cer­ti­fied by Medi­care and Med­i­caid are in­spected each year for health and safety con­cerns.

Among the de­fi­cien­cies noted in the in­spec­tion were that the fa­cil­ity failed to pro­vide sched­uled bathing for some res­i­dents; failed to pro­vide nec­es­sary res­pi­ra­tory care and/or ser­vices con­sis­tent with pro­fes­sional stan­dards of prac­tice for some res­i­dents; failed to main­tain proper med­i­cal records; and failed to mon­i­tor pain and the ef­fec­tive­ness of pain med­i­ca­tions for some res­i­dents.

The nurs­ing home also failed to doc­u­ment weekly skin as­sess­ments for one res­i­dent’s sur­gi­cal wound, the in­spec­tion found. A sur­gi­cal in­ci­sion on the res­i­dent’s right foot, the re­port said, had soft­en­ing and break­ing down of skin as a re­sult of “pro­longed ex­po­sure to mois­ture, such as sweat, urine, or fe­ces (or wounds for ex­tended pe­ri­ods), sep­a­ra­tion of the in­ci­sion, and myi­a­sis (par­a­sitic in­fes­ta­tion of the body of a live an­i­mal by fly lar­vae (mag­gots) that grow in­side the host while feed­ing on its tis­sue).”

Nor­man said health of­fi­cials will thor­oughly re­view the nurs­ing home’s records.

“There’s a lot of peo­ple to in­ter­view, a lot of records to look into,” he said. “We re­ally are very in­ter­ested to know what their prac­tices were.”

The Wyan­dotte County man is one of six coro­n­avirus cases in Kansas.

The first con­firmed Kansas case — from John­son County — was an­nounced last Satur­day.

On Thurs­day, the state an­nounced an­other three con­firmed cases in John­son County. The men had at­tended a con­fer­ence in Florida and weren’t show­ing symp­toms when they trav­eled back home.

The most re­cent case was an­nounced Fri­day morn­ing. A pa­tient who had re­cently re­turned from a cruise was in iso­la­tion at Wi­chita’s Wes­ley Med­i­cal Cen­ter af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive for coro­n­avirus.

No cases of the res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness have been con­firmed in Kansas City. On Thurs­day, Gov. Mike Par­son an­nounced Mis­souri’s sec­ond “pre­sump­tive pos­i­tive” case, found in Greene County. The Spring­field res­i­dent in their 20s had just re­turned from vis­it­ing Aus­tria.

The first con­firmed Mis­souri case was a 20year-old St. Louis County wo­man who had been study­ing in Italy.

Par­son an­nounced two more cases Fri­day, but gave no de­tails.

TAMMY LJUNGBLAD tljung­[email protected]­star.com

Life Care Cen­ter of Kansas City, lo­cated at 3231 N. 61st St., is the fa­cil­ity where a man is his 70s was be­ing cared for be­fore be­ing trans­ported to Prov­i­dence Med­i­cal Cen­ter, where he died of com­pli­ca­tions from COVID-19. He was the first recorded death in Kansas at­trib­uted to the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

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