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Two nursing homes cited, fined by state for "serious" workplace violations related to N95 respirators

Both facilities operated by Ohio-based CommuniCare
Greenwood HealthCare Center
Posted at 9:09 PM, Oct 27, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — State regulators have fined and cited two central Indiana nursing homes for “serious” workplace violations.

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or IOSHA, fined Greenwood Healthcare Center $7,000.

Records show the fines stem from the center not doing medical evaluations on employees who were required to wear N95 respirators, and not creating an effective respiratory protection program for workers.

Wildwood Healthcare in Indianapolis was also fined $24,500 for similar violations related to PPE.

“The employer did not provide a medical evaluation to determine the employees ability to use a respirator, before the employee was fit tested or required to use the respirator in the workplace,” read the IOSHA report. “A medical evaluation was not conducted with employees such as, but not limited to, licensed practical nurses or certified nursing assistants, who were required to wear N95 respirators.”

Greenwood Healthcare has had 36 resident deaths, among the highest death tolls in the state, and 191 positive resident cases, and 22 staff members have tested positive.

Wildwood has had 19 resident deaths, 167 positive resident cases, and 36 staff members test positive for the virus.

They’re both operated by CommuniCare, which is based out of Ohio.

The company provided the following statement to WRTV:

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 3rd and restricted all visitation at these centers on March 10th – three days ahead of the Federal Government’s Guidance to this effect. We have spent more than $4 million dollars 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.