The massive fine comes after state and federal inspections at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, NorthJersey.com reports.
Officials say the facility’s lapses in infection control and hand-washing put 53 ventilator-dependent children and 150 other patients in immediate jeopardy last fall.
Deficiencies in leadership “contributed to the delay in identification and containment of (the) adenovirus outbreak, affecting 33 residents (and) one staff, and resulted in 11 pediatric resident deaths,” a federal report issued last week said.
Center Administrator Rowena Bautista says the report by regional offices of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is “riddled with factual inaccuracies and blatant misstatements.” She says the center has appealed the findings and will “vigorously dispute” the allegations.
No new cases of the virus have been reported at the center since Nov. 12. But the state still bars new admissions to its pediatric ventilator unit.
Adenovirus usually poses little risk for healthy people. It can cause mild cold or flu symptoms, and some strains also cause diarrhea and pinkeye.
The strain found in the Wanaque rehab center outbreak is called type 7 and is among the more potent types. It sometimes causes more serious respiratory illness, especially among those with weak immune systems.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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