California hospitals, nursing homes accused of lax coronavirus protection, face more than $77K in fines

California's Occupational Safety and Health division has proposed $77,040 in penalties for five hospitals and skilled nursing facilities that it says failed to protect employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a Sept. 22 news release, state regulators said Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center skilled nursing facility in Hayward did not follow requirements for providing necessary personal protective equipment and exposed workers to COVID-19. Regulators also said Sutter Bay Hospitals' CPMC Davies campus in San Francisco failed to ensure that administrative workers and security guards wore respiratory protection, and healthcare workers in an operating room there did not have proper respiratory protection during a medical procedure on a potential COVID-19 patient. 

The regulators said Santa Clara Valley Medical Center's hospital on South Bascom Avenue in San Jose did not provide effective employee training and that the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center on North Jackson Avenue in San Jose did not clearly communicate with workers who were deployed to the Ridge Post-Acute and Canyon Springs Post-Acute skilled nursing facilities. According to regulators, the workers were exposed to potential and positive COVID-19 patients at the San Jose skilled nursing facilities.

In a statement shared with The Mercury News, administrators at Canyon Springs said they were reviewing the state  citation and remain "vigilant in our fight against this pandemic."

A Santa Clara Valley Medical Center spokesperson said hospital workers who cared for nursing home patients had appropriate protection, according to the publication.

"Early in the pandemic, when a nursing home in our community faced a severe staffing shortage following an outbreak of COVID-19, we sent staff to the facility to care for the elderly, vulnerable patients in the facility," spokesperson Joy Alexiou told The Mercury News Sept. 22. "We are reviewing a citation issued … by Cal/OSHA related to this emergency deployment of staff, and will take appropriate action following that review, such as a possible appeal."

Becker's Hospital Review reached out to Sutter and Gateway. More details will be posted once available.

 

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