State leaders react to report of recovering COVID-19 patients being sent to nursing homes |

State leaders react to report of recovering COVID-19 patients being sent to nursing homes

Updated: May 20, 2020 06:47 PM
Created: May 20, 2020 05:50 PM

(ABC 6 News) - In Minnesota, more than 80% of COVID-19 related deaths have been residents of long-term care facilities.
“That’s the demographic that we need to protect the most. Deliberately sending patients to these facilities is extremely dangerous,” said Rep. Jeremy Munson. 
According to the StarTribune, the Minnesota Department of Health has been leaning on these facilities to take in dozens of discharged COVID-19 patients who still need some level of care as part of an effort to make sure hospital beds are available for new patients. 
“I understand why that is necessary to preserve those hospital beds for those who have active COVID-19 that actually need that hospital care. But we need to be more creative than that, more innovative,” said Sen. Carla Nelson. 
Sen. Karin Housley said other options for discharged patients were originally discussed. 
“There were groups that were meeting where they were going to cohort some of these folks that had COVID that needed to be released from the hospital and they could all go to one building, a vacant building like Johanna Shores that nobody is there and they could put these infected people there. I don’t know where that didn’t happen,” she said. 
But Rep. Munson says at this point, the best solution might be for hospitals to continue caring for patients on site. 
“From talking to nurses and doctors on the front line, I don’t think hospitals are overburdened at this time. We keep talking about preparing for a wave, but in preparing for this wave, we are causing a wave by sending sick people to long-term care facilities,” he said.

Tamara Buechler, M.D., chair of the hospital discharge subcommittee at Mayo Clinic in Rochester sent ABC 6 News this statement: 

“Mayo Clinic Hospital – Rochester has not discharged any patients who were COVID-19 positive by testing at the time of discharge to a skilled nursing facility. We do have procedures in place for safe discharge of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 to skilled nursing facilities if it is clinically appropriate with resolution of the acute illness and the facility has the necessary resources to care for that patient (staffing, personal protective equipment, and isolation capability). An example when it may be in the patient’s best interest is when the skilled nursing facility is the patient’s home.”

For now, these state leaders are looking to the Minnesota Department of Health to make a change. 

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