Regulatory Roundup: OSHA Hands Out First COVID-19 Citation to a Nursing Home, Azar Promises Investigation in PA

A nursing home in Georgia operated by Winder Nursing was the recipient of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) first citation related to COVID-19.

The nursing home delayed reporting the work-related hospitalization of six workers who were infected, according to a May 18 citation first covered by ABC News.

The hospitalizations occurred as early as April 19, but OSHA was not informed of them until May 5; the proposed penalty was $6,506, according to the citation.

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The citation does not mention COVID-19, but a spokeswoman for OSHA confirmed to ABC News that all of the hospitalized workers were infected with COVID-19.

The violation was classified as “other than serious” by OSHA. The nursing home itself has 88 residents and 27 workers who have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Georgia Department of Community Health data cited by ABC.

CMS Probes Pennsylvania SNF Over Major COVID-19 outbreak

The federal government will soon be releasing an inspection report on the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County, Pa., Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Alex Azar said on Friday.

Local NPR station 90.5 WESA first reported the news.

More than 75 residents at the skilled nursing facility died from the illness, making the outbreak the worst at a long-term facility in the Keystone State.

Azar characterized an investigation into a facility by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as “rare,” though he did not specify how unusual it was.

The agency has issued two major fines related to the fallout from COVID-19: The Kirkland, Wash. facility that was the site of the first major outbreak received a $611,000 fine, and CMS issued a $220,000 fine for a nursing home in New Jersey that made national headlines for deaths during the pandemic.

During his remarks, Azar also questioned whether the state of Pennsylvania took adequate steps to address past violations by the Brighton nursing home.

“There’s not an excuse for infections spreading like wildfire throughout a nursing home,” Azar said, according to NPR. “That suggests that you’re not engaged in the basic types of infection control, isolation of patients and appropriate use of personal protective equipment.”

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