LA PLATA, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - A spokesperson for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan wrote on social media Tuesday that a state “Strike Team” has responded to the Sagepoint Living Services Facility in Charles County.
Hogan’s Communications Director Michael Ricci tweeted, “a state strike team visited the Sagepoint Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Charles County for staffing and PPE guidance.”
No more information was provided but FOX 5 did speak with a source with close knowledge of the facility and situation who explained the response was a little different from what the spokesperson’s tweet might entail.
The state “Strike Team” commonly refer to includes National Guard members and other officials who come to test, move patients and provide personal protection equipment (PPE). FOX 5 was told that has not responded to the facility. The team that responded on Monday was a team to support any staffing issues, providing managerial and technical support. This is to ensure a facility has the support they need.
It’s not clear how long this team will stay but it does appear the development may be in response to FOX 5’s reporting on Sagepoint Senior Living Services.
Last Thursday is when FOX 5’s Ike Ejiochi first reported on concerns of a COVID-19 outbreak at Sagepoint. Some of the concerns still being shared on Tuesday circle around accusations that staff and family members were not properly told of a COVID19 spike at the facility.
Reporting in senior living facilities all across the country has been such an issue -- and with so many outbreaks at these facilities -- the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) both support the new federal mandate implemented this weekend, requiring these facilities now report COVID-19 developments to staff, to the residents/families and to a stage agency. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administration announced on Sunday that long term care facilities will also report to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) moving forward.
“It’s clear that CMS shares our goal of containing the spread of COVID-19 in long term care facilities. This announcement reinforces much of what long term care providers are already doing and are currently required to do in their states,” AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson wrote in a statement. FULL STATEMENT
On Tuesday, FOX 5 also spoke to the Maryland Senate’s Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee Chair, Senator Paul Pinksy. Pinsky believes senior facilities should also be reporting COVID-19 cases to the public instead of claiming patient privacy.
“Look, if one person has passed away and it would be clear and obvious who that person was, maybe there should some – there could be some justification. But if the numbers get to significant numbers of cases where people are sadly passing away, I don’t know why we shouldn’t be reporting them. People should know,” said Pinksy.
Pinksy believes facilities may be afraid to report to the public at large but also said he believes during this time it’s important to be as transparent as possible so that people maintain trust in the government and medical community.
Last week, Dr. Howard Haft, a state doctor assigned to work with Charles County, said during a press conference, “From our prospective, from the state, we’re going to be aggregating so that information across the county and across the state and report it in a responsible way. Right now we don’t have a responsible way to report that – that compares apples to apples across facilities…”
On Tuesday, the Maryland Governor’s Office did announce new COVID-19 breakdowns by ICU and acute beds included. It’s anticipated that state nursing and senior living facility information may also be shared in the near future.