August 17, 2020

Senator Hassan, Bipartisan Group of Senators Call on Federal Health Officials to Better Protect Seniors and People Who Experience Disabilities from COVID-19

More Than 80 Percent of NH’s COVID-19 Deaths Are Associated with Long-Term Care Facilities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a bipartisan group of her colleagues in requesting that federal health agencies bolster efforts to protect residents and workers in nursing homes. In New Hampshire, more than 80 percent of COVID-19 deaths are associated with nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The letter was led by Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Bob Casey (D-PA).

“We share a commitment to protecting seniors, people with disabilities and other at-risk populations during the public health crisis,” the Senator wrote. “As you know, residents of nursing homes are among the most vulnerable to succumbing to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by virtue of being older, having long-term health complications, or a combination of both factors. Tragically, the experiences of some nursing homes in the country highlight the devastation that can occur in this population.”

The Senators wrote to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma asking that those agencies:

 

  • Provide individualized, facility-specific technical assistance;
  • Provide monthly updates on infection control surveys and outcomes;
  • Perform analysis of nursing homes with larger outbreaks;
  • Review all nursing home regulations and seek stakeholder input; and
  • Improve coordination among CDC, CMS, and states for nursing homes to report COVID-19 cases and deaths.

 

Senator Hassan is working to protect nursing home residents and staff amid this unprecedented public health crisis. Senator Hassan cosponsored legislation to address critical health and financial needs of older adults, people with disabilities, home health workers and family caregivers. In May, Senator Hassan led her colleagues in calling on the CDC to issue specific guidelines for when long-term care facilities can safely reopen their doors to visitors, and what steps long-term care facilities should take to ensure the safety of residents and family members when they do so.

 

You can read the full letter here.

 

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