Life Care Center (LCC) of Kirkland is facing more than $600,000 in fines for its response to the COVID-19 outbreak in its facility. Samantha Pak/Sound Publishing

Life Care Center (LCC) of Kirkland is facing more than $600,000 in fines for its response to the COVID-19 outbreak in its facility. Samantha Pak/Sound Publishing

Life Care in Kirkland facing more than $600K in fines for COVID-19 response

The facility has until Sept. 16 to pay or address areas of concern or it will be terminated.

Life Care Center (LCC) of Kirkland is facing more than $600,000 in fines for its response to the COVID-19 outbreak in its facility.

LCC of Kirkland is the site where the COVID-19 outbreak started in the United States.

On April 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) contacted the Kirkland center to inform them that following a survey of the facility, LCC of Kirkland is being penalized $13,585 per day for Feb. 12 through March 27, for a total of $611,325. According to the communication between CMS and LCC of Kirkland, the center must either pay the fines or correct the deficiencies CMS found in its survey by Sept. 16. If LCC of Kirkland does not do this, the facility will be terminated.

CMS notified LCC of Kirkland on March 18 that the agency, along with the Washington state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) state survey agency, completed a complaint survey at the facility on March 16 and informed LCC of Kirkland of its immediate jeopardy (IJ) disposition. IJ is a situation “in which the provider’s noncompliance with one or more requirements of participation has caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury, harm, impairment, or death to a resident,” according to CMS.

“Based on those survey results, CMS determined that LCC of Kirkland no longer met the requirements for participation as a provider of services in the Medicare program established under Titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act,” the communication reads.

CMS also notified the Kirkland facility that it would be terminating its Medicare provider agreement on April 8 if the center failed to remove the IJ findings before that date.

Out of immediate jeopardy

In a prepared statement, LCC of Kirkland wrote that over the weekend of March 28, the center “successfully worked with CMS to remove three Immediate Jeopardy citations. We will continue to work with CMS to find solutions to their ongoing concerns.”

The first IJ citation LCC of Kirkland received related to the “lack of timely action in [implementing] infection control procedures,” a lack of a plan for provision of emergent services to meet the increased needs of acutely ill residents and a lack of “clinical evidence of physician and/or extender evaluations and interventions.” According to CMS findings, these contributed to “a failure to provide the necessary resources to effectively manage the respiratory outbreak and deliver optimal quality of care and services to these residents.”

The second citation related to “failure to have emergency physician services available 24 hours per day or to have an alternate emergency plan.”

The third IJ citation related to “failure to perform infection control surveillance with identifying a respiratory infection and pneumonia outbreak and failure to ensure timely reporting of the outbreak to the Department of Health.”

As a result of these IJ citation removals, the April 8 CMS deadline was extended to Sept. 16.

Working together to address concerns

While LCC of Kirkland has removed its IJ citations, there are other deficiencies the center must address.

For the three IJ citations, the facility remains noncompliant “at the severity level of no actual harm with potential for more than minimal harm…because a significant portion of staff (71 staff, 57%) had not yet returned to work to complete training and the facility had not yet demonstrated sustained compliance and integration with their quality assessment and performance improvement program.”

Other areas LCC of Kirkland must address in order to avoid fines and/or closure include meeting requirements regarding its governing body, medical director, resident records and quality assessment performance improvement program.

According to its statement, LCC of Kirkland receives routine visits from CMS to ensure it is “following the correct protocols to ensure quality resident-centered care,” according to the statement, noting that prior to this, the center received a five-star overall rating from CMS, the highest rating given to nursing homes.

“The [CMS] has been a valuable partner to us over the years as we continue to make patient care our top priority,” the statement from LCC of Kirkland reads.

In addition to “working hard to address [CMS’] current concerns in a timely and respectful manner so as to provide [their] residents the best care,” LCC of Kirkland plans to dispute some of the findings by CMS.

“The federal administrative process provides a means for us to dispute any findings which we believe are incorrect, and we believe some are here,” the statement reads. “However, we will follow CMS’ process and not address our responses in the public.”

According to CMS, LCC of Kirkland has 10 days to do so from the time it received the notice of the CMS survey results.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Teaser
King County approves emergency grant after U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

Washington is expecting an influx of people seeking abortions from out of state.

Fedor Osipov, 15, flips into Steel Lake in Federal Way during last year's heatwave on June 28, 2021. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
Heatwave expected to hit King County

Temperatures will likely reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, June 26, and Monday, June 27.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII: Examining Auburn police officer’s grim tattoos

Episode 5 in special podcast series that explores Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Derby Days. Courtesy of Experience Redmond.
Mark your calendars for Redmond’s annual Derby Days celebration

Attendees should expect two days of action-packed fun from July 8-9.

File photo.
Former Bellevue teacher sentenced in federal court over child pornography

Department of Justice says the man had 1,764 images of child sexual abuse in his possession.

Photo courtesy of King County.
Officials urge caution when swimming this summer

Cold spring temperatures and larger than normal snowpack have created dangerous conditions

File photo.
Bellevue man charged in 2019 assault that left a man dead on a Redmond roadway

After a two-year investigation, Bradley Hibbard was arrested for murder in the second degree.

File photo
Fireworks ban takes effect this year in unincorporated King County

The new law does not extend to cities, which each have their own regulations around fireworks.

Vanesha Hari. Courtesy of Workforce Career Readiness.
Redmond High School student receives national recognition for excellence

From a young age, Vanesha Hari wanted to leave the world in a better place than she found it.

Most Read