Whitmer revises rules on nursing homes with virus patients
By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press
LANSING, Oct. 1, 2020 (AP): Gov. Gretchen Whitmer revised
rules related to the care of Michigan nursing home residents
with the coronavirus, saying they should be sent to facilities
with solid federal staffing ratings.
Currently, infected residents from homes without a dedicated
COVID-19 unit go to one of 21 state-designated ``hub'' nursing
homes when they leave the hospital or when they need a higher
level of care but not hospitalization. Under an order issued
late Wednesday, they instead will be transferred to ``care and
recovery`` centers that will replace the hub network.
A nursing home, including a hub home, can be a care and recovery
facility only if it meets certain standards outlined in a new
policy bulletin issued by the state Department of Health and
Human Services. The facility has to have a staffing rating of at
least three out of five stars, for instance, and cannot have an
abuse or neglect citation. At least one will be in each of
Michigan's eight emergency preparedness regions.
At least six of the current hub homes would not meet the minimum
criteria outlined in the policy, said state spokesman Bob
The Democratic governor did not, as Republican lawmakers have
proposed, establish facilities or buildings solely to house
those recovering from the virus. She also lifted a ban on
communal dining to improve residents' well-being, instead
requiring that dining and group activities be consistent with
federal and state guidance.
A month ago, a Whitmer-created task force recommended that
hospitals not discharge patients with COVID-19 to their nursing
home if they have less than 72 hours in their overall isolation
period. If that is not an option, the panel said, then the hub
program should be changed to ensure consideration is given to a
home's quality and inspection history before it becomes a care
and recovery center with a wing, unit or building to care for
The governor said her order follows the recommendation.
Nursing home residents account for 2,154, or 30%, of the state's
7,083 confirmed or probable deaths related to the virus.
A confirmed death is one where COVID-19 is listed as the cause,
a person has a confirmed infection and dies, or dies within 30
days of infection and the manner of death is listed as natural.
A probable death is one where COVID is indicated on the death
certificate but there was no positive test.