Family members react after Kirkland nursing facility fined more than $600,000

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KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Bridget Parkhill can’t hold her mom inside Life Care Center, but she visits often to see her mom’s smile through the window.

Parkhill’s mom Susan Hailey is a fighter. The 76-year-old waged a war against the monster virus after testing positive for COVID-19 last month.

“It was a terrible cough there for a few days,” Hailey said.

Even weeks later, Hailey says she has a lingering cough and she’s feeling lethargic but she says the worst of the symptoms are over.

What a relief for Hailey and her family desperately waiting for news. Her daughters say last week’s test results showed their mom is now negative for the virus.

“People here are good to me. Everything I wanted I got,” Hailey said.

“We can’t say enough good things about several staff members,” Parkhill said.

But overall Parkhill and her sister Carmen Gray say Life Care did not have a good system in place to protect their residents from any outbreak much less to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, a virus that spread like wildfire inside the nursing facility, making it the first epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

As of Thursday, 40 COVID-19 deaths are linked to Life Care. The deaths include residents and visitors.

An investigation by federal authorities revealed a number of serious deficiencies, and on Wednesday the facility was fined more than $600,000.

“They may not have had an action plan for COVID-19, specifically, however they should have an emergency action plan for a person that comes with active tuberculosis. It’s the exact same type of precautions you use,” Parkhill said.

Documents provided by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to Q13 FOX says failures include a lack of an infection control program and not enough quality care for residents during the deadly outbreak.

CMS also cited that Life Care did not have emergency physician services 24 hours per day. They also say the nursing facility for weeks delayed reporting to local health officials about the surge of respiratory illnesses they were dealing with.

“They don’t communicate with their staff, their staff members should not be finding out about residents being positive for COVID-19 by family members that should come directly from a supervisor,” daughter Carmen Gray said.

For the sisters it's been an emotional and scary roller coaster.

“My youngest daughter Bridget, for her to cry because she felt so bad, it is very difficult to see her burst into tears over something that she can’t do anything about,” Hailey said.

Hailey is not well enough to leave Life Care but she is determined to get out in the coming weeks to hold her loved ones again.

“I want to hold them thank them for all their much care they have given me, they bring me breakfast lunch and dinner everyday,” Hailey said.

Federal authorities have given Life Care until September 16th to fix the deficiencies. If they do not, CMS says they will pull Medicare and Medicaid benefits among other programs.

Life Care did not respond to Q13 FOX News on Thursday.

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