Indiana’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is citing two nursing homes for serious violations. It’s the first time major COVID-19 workplace citations have been issued by state authorities.
Wildwood Healthcare Center in Indianapolis is being fined almost $25,000 while Greenwood Healthcare Center, just south of the city, is being fined $7,000. Safety inspectors say the nursing homes failed to create procedures to ensure that employees are properly fitted for N95 masks or conduct required medical evaluations on employees who were required to wear them.
Both facilities are owned by the Ohio-based CommuniCare Family of Companies.
In response to the violations, CommuniCare spokesperson Fred Stratmann issued the following statement:
"Greenwood and Wildwood Healthcare Centers believe the decision to issue these citations was made in a vacuum. The centers have prioritized worker and resident safety from the outset of the pandemic and continue to do so today. We instituted safety measures on March 3 and restricted all visitation at these centers on March 10 – three days ahead of the Federal Government’s Guidance to this effect. We have spent more than $4 million providing PPE and testing to our centers, in addition to what they were able to get from their regular supply chains. We will be contesting the charges and will work with IOSHA through their dispute resolution process to ensure a fair outcome."
Inspections were triggered shortly after two Wildwood employees suffered work-related deaths in April. So far, more than 50 residents have died at the two nursing homes, combined.
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