COLUMBUS, Ohio — More than 200 long-term care facilities across Ohio have failed to opt in to a COVID-19 Vaccine Maintenance program that ensures residents and staff have ongoing access to vaccinations.
The Ohio Department of Aging Friday, at the urging of Gov. Dewine, has released a list of 52 nursing homes and 155 assisted living facilities that have not opted in to the program or confirmed how they will provide vaccinations.
The list includes:
- 19 in Cuyahoga
- 10 in Summit
- 5 in Lake
- 4 in Medina
- 3 in Lorain
At a news conference Thursday, Gov. DeWine promised to publish the list of those facilities that have failed to participate in the vaccine maintenance program, saying he "fears people in nursing homes are not being protected."
The Ohio Health Care Association that represents nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Ohio echoed similar concerns--noting it was at the forefront of ensuring a maintenance program was available.
OHCA Executive Director Peter Van Runkle says resident and staff health and safety could be jeopardized by failing to provide vaccines in an ongoing manner to those who may not have already received one or who have not decided to obtain one.
Van Runkle says the list of facilities has been whittled down "quite a lot" over time and it is unclear "what is really going on" with facilities who are on the list.
At least one company has already disputed the state's claim that they failed to offer vaccines to residents. Shortly after the list was released, O'Neill Healthcare, which operates three assisted living facilities that were on the list in North Ridgeville, Bay Village, and Lakewood, released a statement that reads, in part:
Governor Mike DeWine got it wrong. During his 3/25/21 press conference, he presented a list of facilities that did not participate in the Vaccine Maintenance Program. He erroneously included three of O'Neill Healthcare's Assisted Living facilities: North Ridgeville, Bay Village, and Lakewood.
O'Neill Healthcare was honored to be among the first nursing homes and assisted living facilities to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020. The Federal program provided vaccines that local pharmacies administered. A high percentage of staff and residents received the vaccine. At our four assisted living communities, almost 100% of residents received the vaccine. At our six nursing homes, close to 90% of residents received the vaccine. Initial staff participation was over 75% across the company and continues to grow.
After the initial vaccine clinics finished, we requested more vaccines to protect any unvaccinated residents and staff. When Governor DeWine announced the State Vaccine Maintenance program, all six of our facilities joined. Some are already administering vaccines through this program.
Meanwhile, the vast majority in Ohio's 900 nursing homes and 700 assisted living facilities have been vaccinated, but there remain 207 facilities statewide that appear not to be taking part in the maintenance program.
Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allen shares the concern over facilities that are not participating and says his office will continue to work with them.