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Michigan attorney general steps up enforcement of coronavirus nursing home orders

The state's investigation in The Villages of Lapeer nursing home resulted in two serious citations.
The state's investigation in The Villages of Lapeer nursing home resulted in two serious citations.(Eric Fletcher/ ABC12 News)
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 4:59 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The Michigan Attorney General’s Office is increasing efforts to make sure nursing homes and long-term care facilities are complying with orders to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The office has a Health Care Fraud Division that operates with federal funding to investigate abuse and neglect cases in long-term care settings. It will become the lead agency in investigating and enforcing laws in facilities that don’t follow stringent orders from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The Michigan departments of Health and Human Services and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs also are involved in monitoring the state’s 4,900 nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Whitmer has issued the following orders for nursing homes and long-term care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Communal dining and group activities all must be canceled.
  • Each facility must carry out disinfection and sanitation practices.
  • Each facility must supply adequate personal protective equipment to employees.
  • Employees must be notified when a resident tests positive for COVID-19.
  • All positive and presumed positive COVID-19 patients must be reported to state and local health officials.

Willful violations of the orders can be charged as a misdemeanor, which carries up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail. However, most violations likely will be handled with education and outreach efforts first before pursuing legal action.

“My office is prepared to continue our role of enforcing the law as this virus lingers and as Michigan’s most vulnerable populations remain at risk,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Nearly 7,800 nursing home and long-term care residents have tested positive for coronavirus and more than 2,000 of them died. In addition, 3,700 staff members at the facilities have tested positive for the illness and 22 of them died.

That represents nearly one-third of Michigan’s 6,247 deaths attributed to coronavirus as of Thursday.

Anyone can report nursing home and long-term care facility violations by calling the Attorney General’s Health Care Fraud Division at 1-800-242-2873 or by filing a complaint online.  

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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