Family speaking out after calls for investigation into nursing home over COVID-19 concerns


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A daughter is speaking out about how hard to was to get information from the nursing home after her mother passed away from COVID-19 there. This comes as the Monroe county public health commissioner is calling on the state to investigate the same nursing facility.

Sally Merritt-Braciak’s mother lived in the Hurlbut in Brighton. Her mother passed from COVID-19 while in their care, and Braciak said the days leading up were full of worry and fear, as she searched for answers.

Elizabeth Anne Merritt was an 85 year old mother of five.

“She went by Anne she was a woman of few words but when she spoke you listened,” said Sally Merritt-Braciak, her daughter.

Baraciak hadn’t seen her mother since the facility went into lock down on March 12th. Two weeks later, Baraciak’s mother told her another resident had died but the family said they never heard anything about a death.

“They did not share any information even on my mothers status and sometimes I had to call and felt sometimes I was begging them for information,” said Merritt-Braciak.

Merritt-Braciak says she was informed her mother tested positive for COVID-19 on April 8. Her mother passed away on April 13.

The Hurlbut Nursing Home in Brighton contains 160 beds, and is one of 13 Hurlbut Care Communities across upstate New York.

The facility is now required to report COVID-19 deaths to the New York State Health Department and the CDC recommends alerting all residents and family of an outbreak.

But following accusations of under-reporting or not reporting to the state, Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza is calling for an investigation, and family members like Sally Merritt-Baraciak are asking for more transparency.

“May not have been able to do anything to save our mother, but all they had to do was keep us informed instead we had to call and beg for information,” said Sally Merritt-Baraciak.

In a statement Hurlbut Care Communities says they are taking steps including; calls to a resident’s primary contact when they are diagnosed COVID-19 positive, regular facility-wide family and resident communications, working with infection control physicians.

Bob Hurlbut, CEO, Hurlbut Care Communities, say their facilities have complied with mandated reporting.

In regards to the call of investigation, the State Department of health “We are in receipt of the letter from Dr. Mendoza and will investigate these allegations.”

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