Countering industry claims that COVID infection rates in nursing facilities are largely a matter of geography, Bloomberg Law reports that five nursing facilities within 25 miles of the Nashville city center, operated by the New Jersey-based CareRite Centers, “suffered an infection rate more than three times that of the metro area’s 26 other homes.” Two of the state’s three largest COVID-19 outbreaks are in CareRite facilities. CareRite’s nine Tennessee nursing facilities have 4% of Tennessee’s nursing home beds, but 10% of the state’s COVID cases and 11% of the state’s nursing home deaths.
Poor staffing levels appear key to the chain’s high infection and death rates during the pandemic. The four CareRite facilities in Tennessee that each have more than 100 infections “averaged only 22 minutes of RN time per resident each day, about half the national average of 41 minutes” (as of the fourth quarter of 2019). The company’s five other Tennessee nursing facilities, with 25 to 61 infections each, average 38 minutes of RN time per resident per day. CareRite staff also report that the company reduced supplies, such as linens, towels, blankets, gloves, and gowns, and reduced housekeeping staff after they acquired the Tennessee facilities four years ago.
Bloomberg Law reports that at least 499 resident and staff members have died from COVID in CareRite’s 29 facilities in four states. CareRite’s 15 facilities in New York, with 3000 beds, have had 336 COVID-related deaths, representing “a fatality rate that’s 75% higher than the average for nursing homes in the state.” CareRite’s four Florida facilities have seen 73 fatalities, “also above the average.”
While the geographic location of a nursing facility has relevance to COVID-19, factors within the control of the nursing facility matter.
November 5, 2020 – T. Edelman
 Ben Elgin, “Cost-Cutting at America’s Nursing Homes Made Covid-19 Even Worse,” Bloomberg Law (Oct. 31, 2020), https://news.bloomberglaw.com/health-regulation-and-compliance/cost-cutting-at-americas-nursing-homes-made-covid-19-even-worse