Attorney General Maura Healey has launched an investigation into Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley, a senior care facility that has been criticized for its response to COVID-19.
“My heart goes out to families who’ve lost loved ones, and the vulnerable residents and staff still in nursing homes,” Healey said on Twitter, noting that this investigation is in addition to the one at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.
My heart goes out to families who’ve lost loved ones, and the vulnerable residents and staff still in nursing homes.
Today I announced my investigation into Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley, in addition to our ongoing investigation into Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.
— Maura Healey (@MassAGO) May 27, 2020
The Nashoba Valley facility is owned by Life Care Centers of America. The company operates about 200 nursing homes throughout the country and, during the pandemic, has seen roughly 2,000 cases of COVID-19 and 250 related deaths, including staff and residents, overall. Inspections monitored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees nursing homes, found that company staff were not following proper protocols to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus, The Washington Post reported.
According to state data released Wednesday, Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley has 120 licensed beds and has had more than 30 coronavirus cases and 26 related deaths.
“We kept waiting and waiting for them to do something, and they never did,” Diane Crowley, who has since quit her job working behind the nursing home’s front desk, told the Post. “I was literally surrounded by COVID. I just told my kids, ‘Please never put me in one of those places. These people live their whole lives, there are teachers, poets and everything else, and this is what they’re ending their lives with?’”
In a statement, Zo Long, Life Care’s division vice president, said the company is “cooperating” with Healey’s investigation, “and we believe that documentation provided to the Attorney General will show how our team appropriately responded to a national crisis no one was prepared for.”
“The residents at Nashoba Valley were entrusted to Life Care and have received quality care each day since the pandemic began, and they will continue to be our focus moving forward,” Long said.
U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan contends that Life Care knew how deadly the virus was after its facility in Kirkland, Washington, was the first to experience a COVID-19 outbreak in the country in February, and where at least 35 people have died.
“Nevertheless, over two months later, more than 20 residents and health care workers at Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley have died and dozens have tested positive,” Trahan said in a statement. “Worse yet, each of their 12 facilities in Massachusetts has reported more than 30 COVID-19 positive cases and half are presently not in adherence with the Department of Public Health’s latest Clinical Audit.”
Before a nurse who worked at Nashoba Valley died of COVID-19 in April, she publicly spoke of the facility’s practices and has since been recognized as a hero.
“We kept waiting for the ball to drop,” the nurse, Maria Krier, told WCVB. “Like, when are you going to tell us we’re exposed to it?”