Family Members Shocked Nursing Homes Taking COVID-Positive Patients


by Tanya Eiserer and Mark Smith

Sep 17, 2020

Lori VanNess and her grandmother Doris Wiseley share a special bond.

VanNess’ mother died when she was 6, and Wiseley raised her since the age of 9.

Since March, they’ve been kept apart with the 98-year-old Wiseley confined to her room at Carrara, a Plano nursing home and rehabilitation center.

“This is the longest I've been apart from my grandmother since I was born,” VanNess said.

While dropping off items for her grandmother, VanNess says she was shocked to learn the facility planned to take in COVID-19 positive hospital patients.

“I was appalled. Absolutely horrified. And immediately thought that this is a death sentence,” VanNess said. “This is just unacceptable that the government is allowing this to happen.”

Statewide, it’s unknown how many nursing homes are admitting COVID-19 patients. That’s because the state does not require nursing homes to report that they accept COVID-positive patients from hospitals.
"There is not a specific requirement for nursing facilities to report whenever they are accepting COVID-19 patients from hospitals,” said Elliott Sprehe, a spokesman for the Texas and Health and Human Services Commission.

WFAA has learned there are more than two dozen facilities in North Texas that have opened designated COVID-19 wings. This allows such facilities to accept COVID-19 infected patients from hospitals or other nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Questions also arise about the overall track record of at least some of the nursing homes opening COVID-19 wings, according to a WFAA review.
Of those facilities that have opened designated COVID-19 wings, at least nine have received a one-star or two-star overall rating out of a possible five stars by federal regulators.

That means those nursing homes were considered “below average” or “much below average” based on a federal review of staffing, quality control and health inspections.



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