Author Archive

Community Update – April 12th

. Posted in FPH

Hi Family & Friends,

I hope everyone had a joyous and safe Easter week. The residents enjoyed having visitors again. We had an anonymous person drop off Easter lily plants, a church member donated four boxes of decorations, and Chaplain Etta had special services and communion.

Unfortunately, the positivity rate in Polk County is still slowly rising and last week it rose to 7.86%.

The first round of outbreak testing for the Assisted Living was done last Tuesday and all AL staff and residents tested negative for COVID.

Porter McGrath employees continue to test weekly on Tuesdays, unfortunately, and we had a positive staff member last week. There was no direct contact with anyone as this individual was on vacation. However, the Polk County Department of Health still considered it an outbreak.

Therefore, outbreak testing of PMG residents and guests took place last week. Visitation ceased until the results came back. All residents and guests of FPH tested negative after the first round of testing. Visitation has resumed.

When a new case of COVID-19 among residents or staff is identified, we begin outbreak testing and suspend all visitation, until at least one round of facility-wide testing is completed. Visitation can resume based on the following criteria:
• If the first round of outbreak testing reveals no additional COVID-19 cases in other areas (e.g., another unit) of the facility, then visitation can resume for residents in areas/units with no COVID-19 cases. However, the facility should suspend visitation on the affected unit until the facility meets the criteria to discontinue outbreak testing. For example, if the first round of outbreak testing reveals two more COVID-19 cases in the same unit as the original case, but not in other units, visitation can resume for residents in areas/units with no COVID-19 cases.
• If the first round of outbreak testing reveals one or more additional COVID-19 cases in other areas/units of the facility (e.g., new cases in two or more units), then facilities should suspend visitation for all residents (vaccinated and unvaccinated) until the facility meets the criteria to discontinue outbreak testing.

Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention
• Screening of all who enter the facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., temperature checks, questions about and observations of signs or symptoms), and denial of entry of those with signs or symptoms or those who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 infection in the prior 14 days (regardless of the visitor’s vaccination status)
• Hand hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub is preferred)
• Face covering or mask (covering mouth and nose)
• Social distancing at least six feet between persons

These core principles are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for nursing homes and should be adhered to at all times.

Visitors who are unable to adhere to the 3 core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention should not be permitted to visit or should be asked to leave.

Outdoor visitation is preferred even when the resident and visitor are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Outdoor visits generally pose a lower risk of transmission due to increased space and airflow. Therefore, visits should be held outdoors whenever practicable.”

We note that compassionate care visits should be allowed at all times, for any resident (vaccinated or unvaccinated) regardless of the above scenarios. Lastly, we continue to consult with our local health department when an outbreak is identified to ensure adherence to infection control precautions, and for recommendations to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Stay safe,

Maria Rivera, Administrator

Notice of Potential Breach of Information

. Posted in FPH

On February 9, 2021, an FPH staff member found a broken window at the unoccupied home at 939 New York Avenue. The police were contacted, and a report was filed. The police have qualified this as a “burglary.” It was later determined that a number of 5+ year old computer towers, a laptop, and a number of other devices (phones, keyboards, monitors, backup servers, and the like) were taken. It was determined that none of the files stored in that space were taken or touched. Existing residents were notified on February 11, 2021, of the theft.

FPH believes the probability is low that protected health information (PHI)/financial information of residents or staff was accessible on the items stolen due to FPH’s longstanding practice and policy regarding the storage of protected health information, and the age and condition of the items. We could not confirm exactly what information was on the equipment and we do not believe that the equipment was encrypted.

We want to assure you that FPH takes its responsibility to safeguard personal information very seriously.  As a result of this incident, FPH immediately launched an internal investigation into this matter and began taking steps to reduce the risk of future unauthorized access to information.  Below is a summary of the investigation performed by FPH and the preventative measures implemented to reduce the risk of similar events like this from happening in the future.

Investigation

-The Lakeland Police Department is continuing the investigation of this burglary;

-FPH talked with neighbors of 939 New York Avenue;

-FPH inventoried the accounting office files stored in 939 New York Avenue and determined none of the files were touched or taken;

-FPH has inventoried all of the possible tech items that have been stolen and sent that inventory to the Lakeland Police Department;

-FPH has investigated if any of the items had been encrypted or if information on the storage drives was deleted. Based on the documented information found to date, we cannot confirm that any or all of the information on the technology stolen had or had not been encrypted or if the information on the storage drives had been deleted;

-Based on past practice, as the equipment stolen was older than 5+ years, no protected health information or financial information would have been stored on the equipment. All protected health information is presently stored in the cloud through our Electronic Medical Records and Accounting program and would not be accessible through the stolen technology.

Prevention

-FPH moved all files from 939 New York Ave. into a double-locked secure room that is not accessible via window entry and the room has a camera monitor and is located within one of our larger buildings where people work and live;

-FPH’s new Information Technology vendor has encrypted all computers and servers, and policies and practices have been updated regarding the storage, destruction, and timely disposition of such technology;

-FPH has installed motion sensor lighting and alarms on 939 New York Avenue. The house has been secured and will not be used for storage of protected information nor assets.

– We continue to touch base with Lakeland Police for updates on a monthly basis;

-FPH has invested in a HIPAA Management Program that will be utilized by our HIPAA Privacy Officer and our CFO. We are presently undertaking a HIPAA GAP Analysis in order to minimize future risks.

If you have any concern that this possible breach may impact you in any manner, please consider the following protective actions:

Although you are not required to take any action, we suggest that you immediately take the following steps:

  • Call the toll-free numbers of any one of the three major credit bureaus (below) to place a fraud alert on your credit report. This can help prevent an identity thief from opening additional accounts in your name. As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified to place alerts on your credit report, and all three reports will be sent to you free of charge.
    • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 105069, Atlanta, GA 30348-5069.
    • Experian: 1-888-397-3742; www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013.
    • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
  • Order your credit reports. By establishing a fraud alert, you will receive a follow-up letter that will explain how you can receive a free copy of your credit report. When you receive your credit report, examine it closely and look for signs of fraud, such as credit accounts that are not yours.
  • Continue to monitor your accounts (bank and credit card accounts as examples) for any improper information posted.

Out of an abundance of caution, FPH has set up a toll-free phone number for residents and staff that have a concern. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or if you need additional information regarding this incident. The toll-free number is 1-833-586-1686.

We deeply regret that this incident occurred and as shared in this notice, steps have been taken to address it and guard against it in the future.

Sincerely,

Joe

Joseph J. Xanthopoulos

Chief Executive Officer and

Executive Director

Community Update – March 9th

. Posted in FPH

Hi Family & Friends,

It has been over a month since our last positive staff member. Therefore, we have not had any outbreak testing of our residents. Salon services have resumed and scheduled general visitations. Polk County’s positivity rate continues to go down in the right direction. As of last week, the rate dropped to 7.30% and we continue to test PMG staff weekly. Only six counties are over 10%. Nineteen counties are under 5% and are testing monthly. We hope to join this latter group soon.

Another great statistic is the 80% drop of positive cases in Nursing Homes from January 1, 2021, through February 7, 2021. This may be a correlation of vaccinations being administered; behavioral activities during the holidays and/or the seasonality of the virus.

We are still under an executive order and visitation continues on a scheduled basis. Please continue to wear a mask and wear them appropriately over the mouth and nose; conduct proper hand hygiene and maintain social distance. A new visitation sign-up link will be released later this week.

This week we will be having various activities for our staff as we celebrate National Employee Appreciation Week. We have so much to be appreciative of. Help us thank our hard-working staff that has stood in the gap for our residents during these unprecedented and challenging times.

Stay well,

Maria Rivera, Administrator

© 2019 Florida Presbyterian Homes
16 Lake Hunter Drive - Lakeland, FL 33803
Phone: 863-688-5521 or Marketing: 863-577-6001