Last Sunday, a story in the Down River Sunday Times reported on a regulatory survey of Rivergate Terrace that took place in April. It’s important that the community we serve have all the facts. Rivergate Terrace has served the community for 49 years and served more than 25,000 patients. Below is a Letter to the Editor we have submitted in support of our associates.
Updated: Friday, July 17, 9:15 a.m. EDT
Sunday's story regarding Rivergate Terrace cast a negative light over 300 Life Care associates without the benefit of the full facts and context. For the champions of care who faced COVID-19 head on and turned an unprecedented pandemic into a COVID-free facility, the poor journalism is harmful and unfair.
The April 10 survey by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs came just 18 days after the first positive case at Rivergate. Infection control protocols were the highest priority. The country was fighting to find PPE, and Rivergate was no exception. Testing was virtually non-existent, and there was nothing staff inside the facility could do to control the community spread.
The battle that would take the lives of 37 patients and one associate raged on until the virus peaked the week of May 24. Armed with lessons learned from sister facilities across the country, the Rivergate team managed the curve through the recovery of its last COVID-19 patient on June 12.
We respect the oversight of state government, but also know the government felt its own pressure to show it was acting in the first weeks of the pandemic. The result was the list of onerous-sounding observations published on July 10 in the Down River Sunday Times. Rivergate responded to the state survey on May 10, something the state could have provided the Times that would have balanced the reporting.
Our Riverview community needs to know that, despite a crisis no one had ever experienced, there was no systematic issue with regard to infection control and nothing alleged by the state "caused serious harm, injury or death to any resident," as we said in our response to the state.
Rivergate Terrace will work through the regulatory process with the state, and the facts will show that the work done over 81 days from the first case to being COVID-free was extraordinary. With the most contagious virus the world has ever seen, there is no guarantee about tomorrow, but the full story will show that the people of Rivergate should be praised, not vilified.
Rivergate Terrace and Rivergate Health Care Center have served the community with high-level care for almost 50 years. As the company that first faced off with COVID-19 and beat it, Life Care Centers of America, the parent company of both Rivergate facilities, is committed to leading the skilled nursing industry to an even higher level of patient care into the future.
Regional Vice President
Life Care Centers of America