DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, last week introduced a bill to provide $20 billion to help states, nursing homes and intermediate care facilities contain the spread of the Coronavirus. To date, more than 20,000 nursing home residents and workers have been killed by the virus. The Nursing Home COVID-19 Protection and Prevention Act would help states implement strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19, purchase desperately needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing kits, and support nursing home workers with premium pay, overtime and other essential benefits.
“As the Coronavirus continues to devastate nursing homes and assisted living centers throughout Michigan, it has become increasingly clear that we must do more to protect the most vulnerable among us – and those who work tirelessly to keep them safe,” said Senator Peters. “This crucial bill will ensure nursing homes across the country finally have the resources and guidance necessary to keep our loved ones safe and contain the spread of this deadly virus.”
“AARP supports the draft of the Nursing Home COVID-19 Protection and Prevention Act that would help protect the health and save the lives of people in nursing homes and other facilities by supporting testing, personal protective equipment, staffing and more. The proposal would also improve public transparency and help protect the rights of residents and their families. Congress should act immediately to stem the loss of life and slow the spread of the virus,” said Megan O’Reilly, Vice President of Government Affairs for AARP.
The Coronavirus pandemic poses an immediate threat to more than 1.3 million Americans who live in nursing homes. States, nursing homes and other facilities are implementing innovative strategies to slow the spread of coronavirus – including efforts to safely separate infected residents from those who do not have the virus, and through the deployment ‘strike’ or ‘surge’ teams of health care providers trained and equipped to address an outbreak within a facility. The Nursing Home COVID-19 Protection and Prevention Act would help implement these strategies by:
- Providing $20 billion in emergency funding for staffing, testing, PPE and more;
- Requiring HHS to develop guidance on best practices, including on how to safeguard resident rights; and
- Instructing HHS to collect and publish data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes and intermediate care facilities.