Coronavirus and long-term care: State suspends license of Jefferson County nursing home director
Nada Hassanein, Tallahassee DemocratPublished 1:45 p.m. ET April 20, 2020 | Updated 5:17 p.m. ET April 20, 2020
The Florida Department of Health has ordered an emergency suspension of the license of Cross Landings nursing home director Mark Daniels.
The state agency issued the emergency restriction Friday after a testing team of nurses visited the facility in Jefferson County, which had residents with COVID-19, to evaluate infection control procedures, test more residents and educate staff on safety protocol.
Cross Landings staff had allowed a resident with COVID-19 to wander the halls without a mask, the team found. Also, staff failed to sanitize thermometers, isolate positive patients and screen people before entering the nursing home — full of senior residents vulnerable to the coronavirus.
The team further found some residents “soaked in urine and feces.”
The team included four registered nurses who found “systemic failure” in planning and implementing safety measures at the facility and “glaring omissions” in a safety plan, according to the suspension order, signed by state Health Secretary and Surgeon General Scott Rivkees and drafted by chief counsel Kristen Summers.
“In the face of a global pandemic that disproportionately affects elderly adults … nursing home administrators are expected to be diligent in implementing and promoting safe practices,” said the order, first reported by The Miami Herald. “Mr. Daniels failed to ensure the safety of the residents at the facility he administers.”
The nursing home is operated by parent company Golden Senior Care, which runs nursing homes in 10 different cities throughout Florida.
Christopher M. David, the attorney for Cross Landings, wrote in an April 13 email to the Democrat after previous attempts to reach administration: “It is the long standing policy of Cross Landings Health and Rehabilitation Center not to comment publicly on any patient-related information due to both state and federal laws against the same.”
He continued, “We will have no further comment so please refrain from further contact with our client.”
According to the state, Jefferson County had one death tied to a long-term care facility, and 19 of 26 total COVID-19 cases are tied to a long-term care facility. Cross Landings is the only state-identified facility in the county with cases.
The team visited the nursing home eight times over the course of five days — between April 9 and April 13 — spending between eight and 12 hours each day while working closely with staff and residents.
“Mr. Daniels willfully resisted the team’s recommendations and obstructed their attempts to ensure the safety of the residents at Cross Landings,” the order says, adding that the team tried to have daily briefings with Daniels and regional administrator Sebrina Cameron, whose license also was suspended. Instead, they “often refused” or were “dismissive” of recommendations.
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