CALIFORNIA, Md. — A California, Maryland nursing home denies charges of inadequate PPE and social distancing practices brought by a former employee.

The employee contacted TheBayNet on and said she quit her job at the facility due to a lack of proper protective equipment for staff and appropriate procedures to keep COIVD positive residents apart from healthy residents.

The woman, who asked not to be named, worked as a care manager at the facility. Discovery Commons provides both assisted living and memory care options for residents. 

Patients In Distress

She said, “We don’t have the proper PPE.  The residents are walking around and touching other residents.” She claimed that residents with symptoms of COVID-19 were allowed to freely socialize with other residents with masks being the only protection. She said masks aren’t effective when dealing with dementia patients who don’t understand what is happening. The woman claimed that residents were only told to say in their rooms as of Sunday. 

The worker said she quit on Sunday due to an incident with a COVID positive patient. She said the man was in great distress, so she was told to call 911. The hospital suggested that hospice care be brought in to keep the man comfortable. However, when she got into work on Sunday, hospice had not been called in and the man was in great pain. “Hospice was still not there. The man was still suffering, screaming at the top of his lungs.  So, I quit last night. I am done. I cannot be part of this.”

Lack of PPE

Another issue at the facility is a lack of proper equipment, “We don’t have proper hand sanitizer. The PPE masks, the N95 is not the proper mask. We were never fitted for masks.  We just recently had a meeting Thursday and they said they didn’t have the ability to give us the proper materials.”

She said she had already complained to both OSHA and the St. Mary’s Health Department about the situation. The health department confirmed they had received a complaint about a lack of proper PPE at the facility.

Terry Prochnow, Director of Public Health Preparedness & Response at SMCHD, said, “SMCHD continues to work very closely and daily with all of our local skilled nursing and assisted living facilities on COVID-19 prevention and mitigation in order to protect their highly vulnerable residents. SMCHD did receive a complaint about the facility. Our agency is working with the facility directly to ensure adequate stock of PPE and implementation of best practices for PPE use.”

Owner Denies Charges

The parent company behind Discovery Commons denied all of the allegations brought by the former employee.

In a statement, Jeff Floyd, Vice President of Operations with the Florida-based company said, “Here are pertinent facts to answer your questions and correct misinformation you have received.”

He listed the following points:

  • Discovery Commons is an assisted living community.  We are not a skilled nursing facility.
  • Residents live in private apartment homes
  • Whenever we have a positive COVID case, residents are asked to quarantine in their apartments to minimize exposure to other residents and team members.
  • We have an ample supply of personal protective equipment for our residents and team members.  Our supply includes N95 masks, face shields, gowns and gloves.
  • A resident in assisted living can go on hospice with physician orders and the hospice services are provided by an outside hospice organization.
  • We provide frequent education on COVID precautions and our enhanced protocols to residents, families and team members.

Our source told us she was only coming forward out of concern for the residents. “We love these people. We love, love these people. I’m saying this for me and all my coworkers who are too scared to say anything.”