The epicenter for the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. has been nursing homes, where thanks to poor conditions and lack of regulation, 51,000 residents and workers have died from coronavirus infections – over 40% of the total number of deaths in the country.
Now the horror story unfolding in these facilities has taken an even darker turn. In recent weeks, several nursing homes have chosen to evict patients who they deem not as profitable as others. It is more lucrative to house and treat patients with COVID-19, whose care tends to be paid for by private insurances instead of public insurance like Medicare.
As a result, in order to make room for these COVID-19 patients, nursing homes are performing what they call “involuntary discharges” of less-profitable residents, and sending them to homeless shelters, motels, or other unsafe places where nobody is responsible for them. Many of them are ending up in the streets. A New York Times article details the horrifying story of an elderly man, 88 years of age, RC Kendrick, suffering from dementia and diabetes. The nursing home discharged him and transported him to an unregulated boarding house, without even notifying his family!
While there is no complete data on how many people have been evicted from nursing homes, the latest investigation found that more than 6,400 seniors have been discharged. In a country where the basic human rights to housing and healthcare are completely disregarded for the sake of profit, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we are facing the highest rates of deaths in the world.
featured image credit: Andrew Cullen / The New York Times