Seniors Face High Risk as Pandemic Threat Grows
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member on the Special Committee on Aging, announced that he along with more than 30 of his Democratic colleagues, pressed the Coronavirus Task Force on their preparedness and response plans for seniors and individuals with disabilities. The Senators sent three letters to the Trump Administration regarding the safety of people living in nursing homes, the ability of seniors living in the community to maintain critical services including delivered meals and home care, and ensuring that up-to-date and accurate information is easily accessible to seniors and people with disabilities.
“Seniors, particularly those in nursing homes, and individuals with disabilities are at a greater risk during this pandemic,” Senator Casey said. “It’s essential that the Administration outline its plans to protect these Americans.”
In an effort to guard against the spread of the virus in nursing homes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in an unprecedented move, directed states to suspend nearly all nursing home inspections and oversight unrelated to infection control or instances of abuse and neglect. One of the first known outbreaks of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) occurred in a Washington state nursing home, Life Care Center, which has accounted for more than 20 of the state’s coronavirus deaths.
The Senators’ requested information on steps that are being taken to protect nursing home residents, staff and their families. They also urged the Trump Administration to outline its plans for ensuring that older adults who receive services in their homes and communities through their local Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers and other community organizations will remain safe from the virus, and to what extent the Administration is taking action to ensure that information about the virus is accessible to everyone, including people who are deaf or have limited English proficiency.