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Casey, Peters, Wyden Release New Report Detailing Trump Administration’s Failure to Protect Nursing Home Residents and Workers From COVID-19

Report Highlights Solutions to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 in Nursing Homes, Which Has Taken the Lives of More Than 54,000 Residents and Workers Across the Country

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member of the Special Committee on Aging, Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member of the Finance Committee released a new report detailing how the Trump Administration’s failed response to COVID-19 contributed to the ongoing tragedy in nursing homes. This public health crisis has led to the deaths of more than 54,000 residents and workers in long term care facilities—or more than 40 percent of all deaths nationwide. The report, entitled “COVID-19 in Nursing Homes: How the Trump Administration Failed Residents and Workers,” also lays out a series of recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the more than 1.3 million Americans who call a nursing facility home.

“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.”

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 national testing strategy; and
• Delayed and inadequately supported oversight in nursing homes.

The report also includes a series of recommendations on the urgent actions that are 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 Casey, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Peters, the Nursing Home COVID-19 Protection and Prevention Act (S. 3768), 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.