Reports Suggest More Than 400 Nursing Facilities Across U.S. Have Documented Cases of COVID-19
Washington, D.C. – As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic escalates, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) are calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to release the list of nursing facilities that have documented cases of COVID-19. Their letter follows a report by The Washington Post that CMS and CDC are maintaining a secret list of facilities where COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred, but the agencies refuse to make it public to nursing home residents, their families, health professionals, first responders and the public.
“No county, state or nursing home is immune from the virus. Even the highest quality nursing facilities can fall prey to COVID-19,” the Senators wrote. “As we work to track and mitigate the spread of this virus through critical investments and changes to policy, we are alarmed by reports that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are maintaining a list of facilities that have had one or more cases of COVID-19, and yet, have declined to make this information public.
“At a time when this information could be vital to the health and safety of Americans, it is imperative that the list of facilities with a COVID-19 case, among residents and staff, be made public and shared with relevant health care providers, authorities and Congress on a real-time basis,” the Senators continued.
In the letter, Senators Casey and Wyden requested information about facilities that have had a resident or staff member with a positive COVID-19 test. The Senators also requested information on how CMS intends to spend $100 million provided to the agency to limit the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes as part of the recently passed CARES Act. One of the first known outbreaks of COVID-19 occurred in a Washington state nursing home, Life Care Center, which has reported 37 deaths due to the coronavirus.
Read the letter here.