After 13 deaths, Pointe Coupee nursing home targeted by statewide strike team
NEW ROADS- A strike team made up of investigators from the Louisiana Department of Health, the Attorney General's Office, National Guard and the Federal Health Standards Agency all paid a visit to Pointe Coupee Healthcare last week.
Data released by the Louisiana Department of Health indicated there were 17 deaths in Pointe Coupee Parish as of Monday. Parish leaders said 13 of those deaths are residents at Pointe Coupee Healthcare.
"We noticed at the onset of this that most of our cases, a lot of them, were coming out of that facility," Parish President Major Thibaut said.
Thibaut said his office was flooded with phone calls from at least 30 concerned family members who had loved ones inside the facility. Thibaut said they felt like their complaints were falling on deaf ears with the facility, so Thibaut said he contacted the governor and Department of Health, and quick action was taken.
"Once that strike team came in, people started getting a better notification and better response when they called so it's been good and positive," Thibaut said.
Monica Fabre has multiple loved ones inside the facility. She said she also contacted Thibaut about her disgust with the way things were being run.
"No communication," Fabre said. "I can see if it was botched communication. I can see if it was sporadic communication. I'm talking about no communication. I'm talking about finding out that your loved one's caregiver is positive for coronavirus and you have to call the facility, and then they confirm it for you."
Fabre welcomes any sort of investigation and believes what happened inside the facility is criminal.
"You know people go to jail for far less," Fabre said. "Right now, if someone sees you or looks at me hurting an innocent dog, we are in trouble. Our face will be plastered on every tv screen. But, when it comes to our elderly residents of these facilities, nothing happens... A slap on the wrist."
The WBRZ Investigative Unit found the facility has a checkered history of problems. According to inspection reports online for public viewing, Pointe Coupee Healthcare was cited 13 times over the past three years. The facility was fined in August 2019, $36,000 for failing to timely report suspected abuse and neglect. In 2018, the home was also cited for violating federal standards protecting residents from the spread of infections.
"A lot of people turn to these facilities because they can't give the care to their loved ones, so we trust these people to take care of our loved ones," Fabre said. "For this to happen is no excuse."
The Attorney General's Office released the following statement:
"Our office shares the concern people have for their loved ones in our State's nursing homes. We have received calls from family members and friends of residents, and we have helped to aid them. Our office will continue to do what we legally can to protect patients and residents in Louisiana, and we stand ready to further support LDH if they request our assistance."
Pointe Coupee Healthcare also issued a statement.
"Pointe Coupee Healthcare is working diligently to prevent the spread of this virus while continuing to provide quality care. We remain in close communication with local and state health officials as well as the CDC to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps necessary at this time.
We currently have 12 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in our building and these numbers will change as we are in the process of testing all of our residents under the direction of our medical director to further identify potential positive cases in efforts to prevent the spread.
There is an open investigation with LDH and we are providing them with all requested information. Any guidance or recommendations given by LDH will be implemented immediately in the facility. Pointe Coupee Healthcare will continue to focus on infection prevention of residents and employees. We will provide and update information as this situation evolves. We would like to thank our staff and the surrounding community for their continued support during this time."
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