WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents and Workers During COVID-19 Act. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky introduced the House companion to this bill, H.R. 598, in late January.
This legislation will protect the health and well-being of those living and working in nursing homes by increasing resources for infection control and prevention, testing, and personal protective equipment; surging funding for strike teams to the hardest hit nursing homes; mandating transparency and reporting of COVID-19 cases and fatalities; and requiring the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct better oversight, including inspections and guidance.
While more than 166,000 residents and workers at nursing homes and other long term care facilities were estimated to have died from COVID-19, as of December 2020, accounting for 36 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the United States, we still do not know the full extent of COVID-19 cases and fatalities among residents or the workers who care for them.
“Across the country, residents and workers at nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been devastated by COVID-19,” said Senator Booker. “Our bill will help enable nursing home facilities to do everything in their power to keep residents and staff safe from COVID-19, improve quality of care for nursing home residents and ensure they can remain connected to their families, empower nursing home workers with the training, tools, and resources they need, and ensure greater transparency and oversight. Nursing home residents and their families deserve to have the peace of mind knowing that they are safe and cared for.”
“This bill introduces new standards to ensure the safety of nursing home residents, protect the workers who heroically care for them, and guarantee much needed transparency,” said Senator Blumenthal. “It also expands residents’ ability to virtually connect with loved ones, alleviating the loneliness and uncertainty that has accompanied this crisis. We can and must do more to protect our most vulnerable members of society, and this bill a first step in the right direction.”
“The COVID-19 crisis in our nation’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities is a national tragedy that demands a strong response. This legislation will finally offer that to the millions of the older Americans, individuals with disabilities, and dedicated workers who rely on nursing homes for their lives and livelihoods,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “Over the past year, we have failed to adequately protect our nation’s nursing homes from the spread of COVID-19, and thousands of residents and staff have unnecessarily died. I urge all of my colleagues in the House and Senate to support the inclusion of these vital COVID-19 protections in the next relief package.”
Specifically, the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents and Workers During COVID-19 Act would immediately address our inadequate federal response to the COVID-19 crisis in our nursing homes by guaranteeing:
Blumenthal and Booker also introduced the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act that ensures overall better care and support fornursing home facilities.
Full text of the bill can be found here