After Due Diligence Comes Confusion, Frustration

Many facilities have thrown in the towel and closing or selling their facilities in part because of the strains of coping with Covid-19: constant testing and screening of residents, staff, and visitors; the cost of testing staff; paying higher worker compensation costs due to a government order; purchasing an ever-increasing amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) at higher and higher prices; the cost of getting staff “fitted” for PPE; getting staff and residents vaccinated; purchasing sanitizing agents and constantly wiping down everything that doesn’t move; complying with more and more difficult “requirements;” and, well, you fill in the blank.

          Many have said they could not keep up with DSS’ provider information notices or PINs due to the shear quantity; conflicting information; hard to comprehended language, even scientific information; redirecting to other sites, then having to “guess” or discern which agency had the stricter requirements.

          Then, the mitigation plan, previously accepted, “changed” and facilities had to submit new policies and procedures because, yet another PIN was released with numerous pages and redirection to other sites. The frustration and confusion have pushed many others to the point of tossing in that proverbial towel.

          Many of those PINs kept stating the situation was “fluid,” meaning everchanging, and that was and is an absolute. The involvement of the state’s public health department complicated the situation as public health staff kept insisting upon “nursing home-type regulations” that were way beyond social models. For instance, a facility was told to have hand sanitizer available to all residents but the residents in the facility had dementia and could foreseeably mismanage the toxic sanitizer. An argument ensued.

          There was a perceived lack of common sense in facility oversight placing licensees and administrators in vicarious positions. Many just hoped the next day did not produce another “information notice,” or there would be another, sometimes misinformed, “consultant” telling facilities what to do. Does the state really need consultants? Are the employees of the state incapable of handling the situation? Perhaps, that is another problem along with the pandemic and lack of support from analysts who just told facilities, “Read the PIN.”