Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas Steps Up for Skilled Nursing Homes

A day after watchdog agencies released their initial analyses into why skilled nursing homes have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas stepped up to help their patients and staff by donating 20,000 N95 masks and a decontamination kit, and by arranging COVID-19 Mobile Testing at the Santa Fe Heights Healthcare Center in Compton.

“Skilled nursing homes that care for some of our most vulnerable Angelenos – the elderly, the low-income, and the disabled – have struggled more than most to stave off COVID-19,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “Seven months into this pandemic, people who resided or worked in skilled nursing facilities account for 42 percent of deaths across our County. We must be vigilant about ensuring patients and employees have access to personal protective equipment and frequent testing during the pandemic, while also staying focused on reforms that will benefit patients and staff in this industry for the long-term.”

In partnership with SEIU Local 2015, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas facilitated a donation of 20,000 N95 masks from Moldex to skilled nursing homes across Los Angeles County and their employees.

“During this pandemic, nursing home workers are placing their health and safety on the line every day in order to ensure that their residents and patients have the care they need,” April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015, said. “It’s shameful that these essential workers still don’t have assurances that they will consistently have the personal protective equipment that’s required to protect themselves and those that they care for from potential exposure to COVID-19. Saying this is unacceptable is an understatement. It’s way past time for elected officials in DC to stop playing politics with our lives. We need a national plan the adequately responds to this crisis.”

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas also arranged for COVID-19 mobile testing with the help of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, and facilitated the donation of a decontamination kit from the California Metals Coalition and the Metal Finishing Association of California to clean masks so they can be used multiple times.

“California’s advanced metal manufacturing sector makes essential parts for ventilation machines, infrastructure, aerospace, electric cars, and biotech. When the COVID‐19 crisis escalated in California, our sector’s metal engineers and chemists stepped up,” said James Simonelli, Executive Director of the California Metals Coalition in Sacramento. “Making this technology available for free to impacted communities and healthcare workers is our way of helping as we all navigate these difficult times.”

Yesterday, the Office of Inspect General and Auditor-Controller released their initial analyses into why skilled nursing homes have been an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. An inadequate supply of personal protective equipment was among the factors they cited.

The Auditor Controller’s report also put a spotlight on the large number of outstanding investigations into skilled nursing facilities – about 11,600 cases. Several hundred of the complaints warned of the potential of “immediate jeopardy” to patients. Subsequent reports by the Inspector General and Auditor Controller are anticipated to provide recommendations on how to address this backlog and improve oversight of these facilities.