Most employees in dozens of Tri-State nursing homes haven't received the COVID-19 vaccine

Resident's daughter: 'It's very concerning'
Madeira Healthcare nursing home
Posted at 7:36 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 13:57:58-04

MADEIRA, Ohio — Most employees in about 30 Tri-State nursing homes haven't been vaccinated for COVID-19, even though the virus has killed more than 136,000 residents and staff in United States nursing homes, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

"It's very concerning," said Amy Lacinak, the daughter of a resident at Madeira Healthcare nursing home. "Vaccinations should be part of your job."

Amy Lacinak
Amy Lacinak

Madeira Healthcare, which is owned by Ayden Healthcare, has one of the lowest staff vaccination rates in the Tri-State.

Just 17% of the nursing home's employees have been vaccinated, according to CMS data reviewed by the WCPO 9 I-Team.

CMS says the national average staff vaccination rate for nursing homes is 62%, more than triple the rate at Madeira Healthcare.

"I'd like to see them all get it, but that's their call," said Ms. Lacinak's father, Joseph, who said he's been a resident at Madeira Healthcare for about 8 months.

Mr. Lacinak, 66, said he's recovering from amputations caused by diabetes. He received the COVID vaccine, but he knows there's still risk.

"I think if I were vaccinated, they should get vaccinated, too," Mr. Lacinak said.

Joseph Lacinak
Joseph Lacinak

In a statement provided Wednesday to the I-Team, Ayden Healthcare said, "Despite our best efforts to advocate for our employees to receive the vaccine, there are still those who wish to decline. Each of our employees has been counseled about the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine and the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others."

Last month, President Joe Biden announced that nursing home employees will be required to get the COVID vaccine as a condition for their employers to receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funding. But it's unclear when that will go into effect.

Despite President Biden's announcement, many Tri-State nursing homes are far below the national average vaccination rate.

This Tableau map shows about 30 local nursing homes where half the staff hasn't been vaccinated for COVID. We included three nursing homes that have "no data" reported on the CMS website.

CMS reported updated data on August 29.

The updated CMS report shows a dramatic improvement for Wellspring Health Center, which is near the Hamilton County Fairgrounds, about 12 miles from downtown Cincinnati.

Wellspring has 74% of its employees vaccinated, more than double the percentage (36) CMS reported on Aug. 22.

We removed Wellspring from our data because at least 50% of its employees have received the COVID vaccine.

The I-Team also removed Sunrise Nursing Healthcare in Amelia, OH, which has exactly 50% of its employees vaccinated, according to CMS.

Ms. Lacinak provided the I-Team with a notification she said Madeira Healthcare sent her Tuesday.

The notification said a Madeira Healthcare employee had tested positive for COVID, prompting temporary restrictions at the nursing home.

In an email to the I-Team, an Ayden Healthcare spokeswoman confirmed a Madeira Healthcare employee tested positive for COVID.

"We are required (and follow this protocol) to notify all residents, families, and employees by 5 pm the next day when we have a positive case of COVID within our center," wrote Kelly Ebersbach, Ayden's corporate director of public relations and communications.

"Were they in my dad's room?" Ms. Lacinak asked rhetorically. "It baffles my mind."