The coronavirus pandemic slammed nursing homes and other long-term care facilities hard in two heart-breaking waves eight months apart. Covid-19 caused the institutions’ fatalities to spike by almost a third over the year before, leaving roughly 170,000 of the elderly, injured, and ill dead, as well as 4 in 10 Medicare-covered residents infected.
Those are some of the grim statistical views of what occurred in nursing homes, notably to residents covered under the federal Medicare program, according to the Office of the Inspector General in the federal Health and Human Services agency (the HHS IG).
The top health watchdog examined “excess deaths” that occurred in 2020 during the pandemic among Medicare beneficiaries, noting that federal officials had exempted nursing homes from reporting Covid-19 cases and deaths in the early part of the year and such infections and fatalities often were not noted in official records, such as death certificates. As the Associated Press reported: