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Maryland nursing home with most COVID-19 deaths fined $10K a day for failure to protect residents

Family members told us Sagepoint Senior Living Services was not being transparent with coronavirus cases in the facility.

LA PLATA, Md. — The State of Maryland is taking action against a nursing home facility in Charles County for putting the health and safety of its residents at risk for not adhering to state regulations on preventing the spread of COVID-19, according to a letter sent by the Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ).

Conditions at the facility, "posed immediate and serious jeopardy to the health and safety of your residents," said Patricia Tomsko Nay, Executive Director of OHCQ.

Sagepoint Senior Living Services will receive civil penalties for its negligence of not providing critical lab tests on-time, their failure to use proper hygiene, failure to appropriately use personal protective equipment, and failure to assess residents with suspected coronavirus, the OHCQ said in the letter.

On April 20, A Sagepoint spokesperson denied a claim that personal protective equipment was purposely withheld from staff in late March.

RELATED: 'We categorically deny it' | Charles County nursing home answers claims about PPE, staffing and case numbers

After OHCQ determined the facility was not in compliance with state regulations following a survey, the nursing home is now forced to pay a Civil Money Penalty (CMP) of $10,000 per day starting March 30 until they are in compliance with state regulations.

Sagepoint posted a statement on its website in response to the state penalties.

“We strongly disagree with OHCQ findings and will be disputing them directly to OHCQ. OHCQ has informed us that all of the concerns found during their inspections have been successfully resolved.”

The state is asking that the facility take the necessary measures to make changes and improvements to keep residents safe.

This comes after family members of Sagepoint residents called for more transparency from management about coronavirus cases. Several family members told us that there have been multiple deaths related to the coronavirus at the facility.

Barbara Buchanan said her 84-year-old mother, Betty Sams, passed away from the coronavirus while in Sagepoint's care.

She said she wanted more transparency from the facility and had to make dozens of calls just to get her mother's health statistics.

RELATED: 50% of coronavirus deaths in Maryland from nursing homes, per newly released data

This is the first time the state has imposed civil penalties on a nursing home since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the OHCQ.

The state will begin universal testing of nursing home residents and staff this week.

RELATED: 'Keeping families informed helps with the grief' | Daughter lost dad to COVID-19 in Charles County nursing home and wants answers

RELATED: Want to know how many COVID-19 cases are in a MD nursing home? That data likely won't be released

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