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Senator Hassan Pushes for Answers on COVID-Related Deaths in Long-Term Care Facilities During Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) pushed for answers on the failures that have led to a significant number of COVID-related deaths in long-term care facilities in New Hampshire and across the country during a Senate Finance Committee hearing today. 


To watch the Senator’s questioning, click here.


Senator Hassan began, “More than 70 percent of all the COVID-19 deaths in my home state of New Hampshire have occurred in long-term care settings. This pandemic exposed clear failures within these facilities – and in the oversight of these facilities. The failure to protect this vulnerable population in the pandemic is a national tragedy.”


Senator Hassan pressed Dr. David Gifford, Chief Medical Officer for the American Health Care Association, on what changes nursing homes must make in order to prevent this type of failure from happening in the future. Dr. Gifford discussed the need for more nurses at long-term care facilities and ensuring that facilities have continual access to personal protective equipment. Senator Hassan also questioned Dr. Gifford on the need for changes to nursing home reporting systems given the record of some homes manipulating staffing data.


Senator Hassan also discussed how access – or lack of access – to paid sick leave can impact long-term care workers’ willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine.


Adelina Ramos, Certified Nursing Assistant in Greenville, RI stated, “Not only in health care but in general, a lot of people are hesitant to take a vaccine because they know that there’s side effects. If they take a vaccine and they get sick, they’re afraid that there will be consequences to pay, like they will use their sick time to pay them when they’re going to need sick time when their family are sick.”