A new report finds Michigan’s plan to create “hubs” for nursing home residents with COVID-19 was “logical and appropriate,” and found no significant evidence of transmission of the virus between patients and residents.
The report, released by the Center for Health and Research Transformation (CHRT), evaluated the state’s regional nursing home hub strategy, comparing the approach to outcomes in other states. CHRT is a University of Michigan affiliated nonprofit.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has faced some backlash on the nursing home policy, with many Republicans saying it placed residents in more danger. Just last week, the Justice Department asked Gov. Whitmer for Michigan nursing home data linked to the coronavirus outbreak as part of an effort to find out if the state’s response warrants a federal investigation.
According to the CHRT report, about 33 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Michigan are attributed to nursing homes, along with 9.2 percent of all cases, as of Aug. 19, 2020.
Here are the preliminary findings of the CHRT report:
- COVID-19 infection rates in nursing homes correlated with staff infection rates; this was consistent with community prevalence.
- No significant evidence of transmission of COVID-19 between patients admitted from hospitals to nursing home residents in hub facilities.
- Nursing home resident COVID-19 prevalence positively correlated with county COVID-19 prevalence rates for both hub and non-hub nursing homes.
Additionally, the Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force also presented its report on nursing home response, offering a list of recommendations to the governor’s office, including:
- Continuing to use the regional hub program with strengthened guidance and protocols as Care and Recovery Centers.
- Identifying and coordinating with hospitals with excess surge capacity.
- Improving coordination of personal protective equipment distribution and allocation.
- Securing funding for continue testing of nursing home residents.
- Exploring options for creating dedicated facilities/alternative care settings.
- Improving support of physical and mental health for staff.
- Increasing opportunities for safe visitation.
“We have taken great strides to protect families from the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “Many of the recommendations from the Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force and in the CHRT report are already being advanced by the department – strengthening the regional hub model, continuing efforts to test residents and staff and increasing access to PPE, including through a $25 million grant program for nursing homes and other providers.”
“I want to thank the members of the task force for their collaboration and support for the state’s ongoing focus on protecting Michigan’s most vulnerable populations,” said Governor Whitmer. “I will carefully review these recommendations and continue to work closely with the task force and our partners to strengthen policies to protect nursing home residents, staff, and their families.”