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Indiana to release detailed data on COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities

Posted at 3:56 PM, Jul 01, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — Detailed data on people in Indiana long-term care facilities who have died of COVID-19 will now be released.

Wednesday's announcement comes after several stories from Call 6 Investigates.

The information detailing where people have died in long-term care facilities will be available on a dashboard from the state. Information on where outbreaks are occurring in long-term care facilities will be available on the dashboard.

The number of deaths, including residents and staff, and the demographics, will be included on the dashboard. The dashboard will include data as far back as March 1.

Call 6 Investigates has been asking for this information broken down by facility since April.

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Families with loved ones in nursing homes have asked us for this information, but the state has cited privacy concerns.

The state hopes to have all of the data gathered by mid-July, with the dashboard launching a few weeks later.

Dr. Dan Rusyniak, the Chief Medical Officer of Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, did not cite pressure from Call 6 Investigates when he explained why they're taking this step.

"Recently the associations that represent long-term care facilities and AARP who advocates for residents have expressed their support of providing facility-level information," Rusyniak said. "As we have learned from this pandemic it requires us to continually evaluate our approaches and to change them. This is one of those times."

During the peak of the pandemic, Rusyniak says the state was focused on testing and infection control. The state also thought it was best to have nursing homes and long-term care facilities release the data directly to families rather than the public.

Statement from AARP Indiana State Director Sarah Waddle:

“Today’s announcement by Dr. Rusyniak that the state will release facility-specific COVID-19 data is welcomed news for Hoosiers. This is information they have deserved for months. We appreciate all of the caregivers, members of the media, and others who joined in helping convince the administration that releasing this data is what’s in the best interest for not only residents and their families, but communities across the state. “This announcement is a strong step toward clearing up the confusion stemming from data provided by different agencies, and it is our hope that this new dashboard will bring more transparency to the difficulties we have seen at our long-term care facilities during this health crisis."

We look forward to hearing more details from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration as they endeavor to build this platform and give Hoosier families the information they need to keep loved ones safe.”