PLYMOUTH, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Questions are being raised by many operators of long term care facilities such as nursing and personal care homes regarding newly released State Department of Health data about COVID-19 cases including deaths at those facilities. Those questions center on the accuracy of that data.
COVID-19 has hit nursing and personal care homes very hard all across the nation. In fact, nearly 70% of Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 deaths occurs in those facilities.
Just this week the state started to report more details about those COVID-19 cases. But officials from many of those facilities say that data, which they claim is not accurate, is causing panic from family members of their residents and employees.
Christopher Lehmann, owner of Plymouth Manor Personal Care Home, tells us, “I was flabbergasted the report is wholly inaccurate pertaining to our facility.”
The most recent State Department of Health report on COVID-19 cases in long term care facilities lists between 1 and 5 COVID-19 cases among its residents and between 1 and 5 resident deaths. Lehmann and his administrator Charlene Adamchick insist the results are not true. They’ve had no COVID-19 related cases or deaths in their facility which has 40 residents.
Lehmann says, “the report should be taken down until the report is accurate. There’s major flaws in the data, it misrepresents our facility to the public and it’s affecting my business and reputation.”
“ I was shocked and very upset,” Adamchick said.
Lehmann and Adamchick say their staff takes every possible COVID-19 safety measure and thus far it’s been successful.” Adamchick also says, “I was shocked to see the State Department of Health report saying that we have any COVID cases in our facility which we do not.”
They reached out to the Department of Health with their concerns and received an email Thursday morning admitting there was an error and it would be corrected and removed from the report. As of late Thursday afternoon, it was still in the state website.
And they are not alone, other long term facilities have filed complaints saying the data was inaccurate. The Pennsylvania Healthcare Association which represents some 350 facilities may take legal action to resolve similar situations.
Zack Shamberg, CEO and president of Pennsylvania Healthcare Association, told Eyewitness News, “we’ve spoke with the Department of Health spoke with the governor’s office we’ve asked them to correct the data as soon as possible.”
We asked Dr. Rachel Levine, State Secretary of the Department of Health, about the accuracy of the data regarding long term facilities. She admitted there has been errors in gathering and reporting the data and insists steps are being taken to set the records straight.
Dr. Rachel Levine responded, “I had heard there had been a few errors on Monday morning. The first report we put out those have all been fixed. We could not put out a report yesterday but if we have errors will be corrected. “
Some of the data that is compiled by the state, comes from the owners of the facilities themselves, which have to file reports with the state when they have COVID-19 cases. Hospitals and laboratories also report COVID-19 related information to the State Health Department.