Workers Warn Of Bedbug Cover-Up At Circleville Nursing Home

NBC 4i (Columbus, OH)
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Two current employees at Circleville Care and Rehabilitation Center, who did not want to be identified, called NBC4 and told us about a bedbug infestation.

They claimed management threatened them with termination should anyone notify the media. They also claimed that families of patients were not being told about the problem.

The director of the Pickaway County Health Department confirmed the presence of bedbugs at the rehab center but said that was all they could do because the bugs did not carry any diseases.

NBC4 arrived at the nursing home just after noon Wednesday, looking to speak to families about the bedbugs. Just after 1 p.m., Martin Estle happily agreed to speak with us on camera.

"When did you first hear about the bed bug problem," I asked.

"Oh, about 25 to 30 minutes ago. They just called me up and said they had complaints about bedbugs," said Estle.

NBC4 contacted Circleville Care and Rehabilitation Center parent company Sunbridge Healthcare.

Regional Vice President Angela McCoy released the following statement:

"Our nursing center maintains specific policies and procedures when addressing the center's environment. When the center became aware of this situation they immediately contacted a pest control company with the expertise to assist us and who has been on site daily to appropriately treat resident rooms. The process can take 48 hours to sanitize several rooms and we are following the recommendation and instruction of the pest control company as to any additional actions that might be taken.

Our first priority is to ensure that the delivery of care to our residents and patients is not disrupted throughout this process. Our medical director, medical staff, staff and families have been informed of the situation and we appreciate the support they have shown. I also have informed the state department of health who are aware and supportive of our process. I want to assure our families and our community that our caring team is committed to providing a safe environment for our residents and I encourage any family members of our residents to contact me with any questions or concerns."

The statement gives no date of notification of families or the day pest control began exterminating.

"I didn't even know about that. I was in here yesterday, and they didn't tell me nothing about bedbugs or anything," said Estle.