WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a new report on the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on residents and workers in nursing homes. The report details missteps by the Trump Administration that enabled the spread of COVID-19 through nursing homes, which led to deaths of more than 54,000 residents and workers nationwide, and about 2,000 seniors and workers in Michigan facilities. Despite representing less than 1% of the U.S. population, deaths connected to nursing home facilities account for about 35% of Coronavirus fatalities in Michigan and 40% of fatalities nationwide. Peters authored the report along with U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member of the Special Committee on Aging, and Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member of the Finance Committee.
“Our report makes it clear that the Trump Administration’s deregulatory agenda, repeated failures to adequately prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic, and its delayed and disorganized response exacerbated, and in some instances contributed to, a worsening public health crisis that has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable populations in the United States,” the Senators said. “Today, seniors and people with disabilities living in nursing homes remain sequestered, scared and alone. And overworked and underpaid nursing home workers continue to face life-and-death decisions without adequate protections and supplies.”
READ THE FULL REPORT: “COVID-19 in Nursing Homes: How the Trump Administration Failed Residents and Workers”
The report includes nine findings across four categories, including the:
- Lack of data on COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths in nursing homes;
- Delayed provision of support to nursing homes, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and funding;
- Absence of a comprehensive national testing strategy; and
- Delayed and inadequately supported oversight in nursing homes.
The report also includes recommendations on urgent actions needed to address the crisis in nursing homes. These include ensuring adequate data collection, supporting states and nursing homes with funding, providing PPE and testing to nursing homes, investing in home and community-based services, facilitating promising strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19, elevating the workforce, improving emergency management and infection control, and anticipating and mitigating future needs.
Many of these recommendations are included in a bill introduced by Senators Peters and Casey, the Nursing Home COVID-19 Protection and Prevention Act, which would provide $20 billion to help states, nursing homes and other congregate settings implement strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as through the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing and to support nursing home workers with premium pay, overtime and other essential benefits.