LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- A Summerlin nursing home reported 16 COVID-19 deaths in its facility Wednesday, but state officials said the facility didn't follow proper reporting guidelines of the deaths.
The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reports that 24 residents have died at The Heights of Summerlin, with 133 cases reported to the state. In a statement, the facility said they know of 138 total cases.
DHHS said there is an open investigation into the facility. They also noted that while 16 resident deaths were reported in a single day, the deaths were spread out over time and weren't reported in a timely manner:
The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health currently has an open investigation into The Heights of Summerlin skilled nursing facility in Las Vegas. Since there is an active investigation, further details are limited at this time. Like other states, Nevada has seen challenges in reporting of deaths related to COVID-19. A Technical Bulletin issued on April 8 requires that all medical facilities must report deaths caused by, associated with, or related to COVID-19 to the health authority immediately. That does not appear to be the case with this facility.
To be clear, the tragic deaths among these residents reflected on the Nevada COVID-19 Facilities Dashboard were spread out over a longer period and did not happen in one day. Instead, the facility failed to timely report these patients as residents of their facility. This delayed reporting doesn’t change the overall count in Nevada. The Division has taken swift action to begin an investigation and provide help and care to the residents and staff at this facility.
Shannon Litz, Department of Health and Human Services
In a statement from the facility, there continues to be a discrepancy in reported deaths, with the facility noting 18 deaths rather than 24 reported on the DHHS coronavirus tracking site:
We have been fully transparent and forthcoming in sharing information with patients, residents and families. As previously noted, we update them with the latest information via regular video conference calls and we personally communicate with one representative per family. In addition, we are working closely with the Nevada Department of Health (DOH).
At this time, The Heights of Summerlin has had 90 residents and 48 staff members test positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by COVID-19, especially the families of the 18 residents that have passed away. Note, the majority of the 18 residents passed away at local hospitals over the last several weeks. There is a delay in hospitals reporting that information back to the center.
At this time, our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our patients, residents and employees. I can assure you that we are working around the clock, doing everything in our power – and everything medical experts know as of at this time – to protect and keep our patients, residents and employees as healthy and as safe as possible.
Andrew Reese, administrator at Heights of Summerlin
Residents at Heights of Summerlin have been impacted most by coronavirus. Of current cases, 76 were among residents and 57 were among staff. Heights of Summerlin said they continue to follow CDC guidelines to keep residents and staff safe.
"I was just shocked I was scared," said a valley man who's grandma lives at the nursing home. He didn't want to share her name or his own, to protect her.
He said she's lived there since February.
About three weeks ago, he said someone from the facility called his mom.
"They told her hey, here in the facility there’s 18 cases of people that have coronavirus."
He said someone called again last week and changed the number of cases to 16 people.
He said his grandmother didn't even know anyone was sick or had died at her facility.
"The only thing she’s told us is that she’s been isolated."
He said she was tested and it came back negative.
"Everything my nana has been telling us started adding up and I was upset. I was like, what is really going on?"
He said his nana told him the food makes her go to the bathroom on herself. Between that, and the COVID-19 deaths he wants her out of the Heights at Summerlin but they can't just take her home because she needs 24/7 care.