Statement from Matt Salmon, CEO:
I hope this message finds you enjoying your Sunday evening. This morning, I read comments by Dr. Michael Hirsh in today’s Telegram and Gazette about inadequacies of COVID-19 testing in nursing homes that concerned me. While it in no way references or pertains directly to any of the SALMON communities, it did motivate me to offer clarity in the event you read Dr. Hirsh’s comments yourself.
In short, I find his remarks outrageous and untrue. In fact, I’m not sure where he’s getting his information. If he had checked with EOHHS or Massachusetts Senior Care, he would have learned about the required surveillance testing for Massachusetts nursing homes. With that accurate assessment, Dr. Hirsh would have discovered that Massachusetts nursing homes do in fact have a robust testing program, one that has been in place since July. Please see the July memorandum from the EOHHS for more details on the testing plans in place.
I am very proud of the work the SALMON team has done to ensure proper testing in our communities. As we have shared with you, we are performing regular testing of our Staff and Residents per the EOHHS guidelines. In fact, we have been performing regular, uninterrupted testing since May. In addition, we have an isolation unit at Beaumont Worcester for the care and treatment of any Resident that may become positive within our system.
As I write this, I am aware of a few nursing homes in the state with outbreaks. Just like churches, restaurants and hockey teams; different organizations are continuously trying to find the best ways to manage positive cases. There may be instances at times, but the important thing is, we have surveillance testing systems and infection control protocols in place to mitigate the spread of potential outbreaks.
EOHHS and Mass Senior Care have been great partners of ours since the beginning of the pandemic, first with weekly “Command Center” calls for all nursing homes and most recently, with the installation of the sixteen-week Project ECHO program, both of which are designed to help educate nursing homes on preventing the spread of COVID-19. SALMON is in regular contact with the EOHHS, Mass Senior Care Association and other state authorities who are proactively providing guidance.
To cast unfounded and broad reaching doubt of how nursing homes in Massachusetts conduct surveillance testing and infection control is dangerous, which is why I found Dr. Hirsh’s comments to be outrageous and something that will incite panic among an already nervous group of families and friends who have loved ones living and working in nursing homes.
I am proud of our leadership and countless associates working very hard to provide safety, compassion, friendship and love to your family member. Reckless comments like Dr. Hirsh’s fly in the face of the hard work that our tremendous teams conduct 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please feel free to visit our website which has been providing COVID statistics since the beginning of the pandemic.
Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out.