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Casey, Toomey Urge CMS to Release Its Plans to Protect Seniors Living in Underperforming Nursing Homes From Coronavirus

Senators Seek Bipartisan Briefing on Ways CMS Will Safeguard Older Americans in More Than 400 Nursing Homes with a History of Serious Health and Safety Violations

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to request a detailed briefing on how the agency plans to protect seniors who live in nursing homes with a history of health and safety violations from COVID-19.

“The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a significant threat to Americans who call a nursing facility home. With hundreds of COVID-19 cases now reported in the Commonwealth and thousands across the U.S., it is imperative that we take action to protect those older adults and individuals with underlying health conditions who are most at risk,” the Senators wrote. “Given our commitment to fostering improvement among the nation’s poorest performing nursing homes, we are writing to request information about your efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes affiliated with the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program, and to urge you to take appropriate measures to ensure that these facilities are meeting the needs of their residents.”

The SFF program, managed by CMS, traditionally provides additional oversight and inspections of nursing facilities that persistently fail to meet health and safety standards. Of the more than 400 facilities that qualify for the program (known as candidates), only 88 are selected for participation. Last year, Senators Casey and Toomey released a bipartisan report detailing the scope of underperforming nursing homes nationwide. Their report called for CMS to release the names of nursing homes considered for the SFF program. Following the release of the report, CMS made the list of more than 400 SFF candidate facilities available to the public on a monthly basis.

Read the letter here.

Read the SFF report from Sens. Casey and Toomey here.