New York

Mountains of PPE Left to Corrupt Outside New York-Queens Nursing Home

The state-owned Queen’s Nursing Home for Veterans has stored nearly 1,000 boxes of PPE under a blue tarpaulin for months. THE CITY learned that it exposed items that were once desperately needed to rain, mice, and snakes.

Many of the supply cash, including medical gowns, have become unusable due to corruption and mold, staff say.

Many rooms in the New York State Veterans’ Home in St. Albans are floor-to-ceiling stacked with hundreds of boxes of PPE intended for resident use, including multipurpose rooms, libraries, and physiotherapy units. The staff said. city.

One of the boxes left outside the veterans’ nursing home in the state of Queens.
Ben Fractenberg / THE CITY

More than a year ago, the supply shortage during the height of the coronavirus epidemic was so severe that three nurses at a Manhattan hospital were forced to donate. Trash bags Instead of a medical gown to protect yourself.

Staff at the Veterans Affairs Facility in St. Albans recall experiencing similar despair when the Elderly Housing with Care was hit particularly hard by the virus.

“When we needed PPE, we couldn’t even get it,” said one employee. “Now it’s wasted.”

Invaded by snakes

Several staff members who spoke to THE CITY said they could not understand why the facility leader did not stop the influx of protective equipment. One employee said it included a surgical mask and gloves.

Some lamented that it was not taken in places where shortages continued, such as India, where the COVID-19 crisis caused international floods. Relief Efforts including delivery of PPE.

According to two staff members, many rental trucks have recently arrived in St Albans to pick up some of the PPE boxes, but only after nearly 1,000 boxes have been exposed to the elements for several months. ..

The PPE was left exposed to elements outside the New York State Veterans' Home in St Albans, Queens, on May 13, 2021.

According to employees, gown boxes and the like have been left outside for months.
Ben Fractenberg / THE CITY

State Department officials managing veterans’ facilities said trucks were moving some boxes to storage, both on-site and off-site.

However, they did not answer questions about the visible damage to hundreds of boxes stored outdoors, nor about whether it is appropriate to store PPE outdoors for several months at a time. ..

Instead, Health Department spokesperson Jill Montag said that St Albans, like other nursing sites, “continues to receive, manage, and use supplies of PPE items in its ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic. I sent a statement saying, “I am.” Comply with state and federal regulations governing PPE supply requirements for future development. ”

Neville Goldson, a longtime administrator of the Veterans’ Home, did not answer multiple emailed questions about PPE.

According to two employees, most of the pile of boxes under the tarp has recently fallen into a driveway next to a nursing home, damaging cargo and inviting rats, raccoons and snakes from nearby gardens. I did.

“What are they doing with this PPE?” Asked one of the workers. “We are full of PPE. It’s like madness.”

Nursing home number

Nursing homes in New York have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the State Department, more than 15,000 residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19.

The agency is report According to State Attorney General Letitia James in January, state officials were found to have publicly underreported data by as much as 50%.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration probe According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the handling of nursing homes during the crisis, including the accuracy of the information New York provided to the US Department of Justice last year.

Previously, state regulations requiring nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients directly from hospitals and protecting the medical industry from litigation have also been scrutinized and criticized.

New York Veterans' Home in St. Albans, Queens.

New York Veterans’ Home in St. Albans
Ben Fractenberg / THE CITY

But even during the crisis, St Albans veterans’ homes stood out.

As THE CITY previously reported, the staff Sounded an alarm In May 2020, state-owned facilities did not properly isolate residents with estimated or confirmed COVIDs and kept them in shared rooms with roommates who were not known to be ill.

The facility was also unable to assign full-time staff to treat residents known or presumed to have the coronavirus — despite the state’s Ministry of Health. Mandatory Such isolation at a facility where COVID cases have been identified to limit the potential spread of the virus by staff.

Just before last year’s Memorial Day, staff provided THE CITY with a list of residents who died of COVID-19. Act of rebellion The purpose is to draw attention to the state’s underestimation of the deaths of veterans at home.

The list identified 48 residents who died when state officials admitted up to 35 coronavirus-related deaths.

Earlier this year, THE CITY was reported by many families responsible for the medical decision-making of relatives in nursing homes. Was not informed The facility staff said that a loved one was given hydroxychloroquine. This is an antimalaria drug used as an experimental COVID-19 treatment.

From March to late April 2020, at least 62 residents were given the drug, documents and sources said.

Surprise visit

Neither Senator Leroy Comrie (D-Queens) nor Alicia Hyndman (D-Queens) in the district, including the Nursing Home, responded to requests for comment from THE CITY.

However, lawmaker Ron Kim (D-Queens), who has been vocally criticizing Cuomo’s response to the crisis in nursing homes, said a photo of PPE outside the St Albans facility shows how state officials store protective equipment. Distribution method.

Parliamentarian Ron Kim (D-Queens)

Parliamentarian Ron Kim (D-Queens)
Ron Kim / Facebook

Kim, chairman of Congress’s Aging Commission, has introduced legislation that allows state legislators to visit nursing homes and other care facilities without notice to check for negligence and violations of the PPE protocol. He said he was planning to do it.

“This is clear evidence that another surveillance hearing is needed as soon as possible to continue the analysis and investigation of what is happening at the state-owned nursing home facility,” he said.

Mountains of PPE Left to Corrupt Outside New York-Queens Nursing Home

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