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HOUSE, SENATE MEMBERS CALL FOR GREATER FEDERAL RESOURCES TO SUPPORT NURSING HOMES DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

June 8, 2020
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) and more than 100 House colleagues in pushing the Trump Administration for greater federal resources and guidance to support nursing homes and long-term care (LTC) facilities throughout the country as they combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 9,600 nursing homes and LTC facilities across the U.S. have reported COVID-19 cases and more than 40,000 residents and workers in LTC settings have died from the virus. The letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Bob Casey (D-PA) and 20 of their colleague in the Senate.

In a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Seema Verma, the Members wrote: “While the persistent shortage of testing kits and delayed reporting and disclosure of COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes continue to obscure the full magnitude of this crisis, recent tragedies have made it painfully clear that our nursing homes are in dire need of additional federal support and guidance. Nursing home residents are among the most vulnerable during this public health emergency, but they cannot be protected when their facilities lack testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE), and sufficient staff. Additionally, many nursing homes do not have the resources to implement federal guidance to slow the spread of COVID-19. To avert further tragedies, we strongly urge you to address the dire needs of nursing home residents and staff as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The lawmakers called on the Administration to provide:

  • a comprehensive national testing plan that includes providing testing kits for our nation’s nursing homes;
  • a strategy to ensure all nursing homes and LTC facilities have adequate personal protection equipment for their residents and staff;
  • a plan to address staff shortages and guidance on how nursing homes can use separate staff and facilities for residents with COVID-19;
  • greater resources for nursing homes so they can complete accurate and timely federal reports and provide updates to families of nursing home residents.

The lawmakers concluded: “We remain gravely concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in our nation’s nursing homes. Today no one is safe, from the residents trapped alone in their rooms to the underpaid staff members working without PPE. While many American communities are in dire need, our nation’s most vulnerable individuals cannot be overlooked in our efforts to defeat COVID-19."

Duckworth, Menendez, Casey, Pascrell and Panetta were joined by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The letter was also signed by House Representatives Linda Sanchez (CA-38), Sean Casten (IL-06), Nanette Diaz Barragan (CA-44), John Larson (CT-01), Sanford Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Andre Carson (IN-07), Max Rose (NY-11), Thomas Suozzi (NY-03), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Al Lawson (FL-05), Susan Davis (CA-53), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Katie Porter (CA-45), Donna Shalala (FL-27), Daniel Kildee (MI-05), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Bennie Thompson (MS-22), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Joseph Morelle (NY-25), Nydia Velazquez (NY-07), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-05), Val Demings (FL-10), James Langevin (RI-02), Bill Foster (IL-11), Jason Crow (CO-06), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Grace Meng (NY-06), Judy Chu (CA-27), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Eliot Engel (NY-16) Mark DeSaulnier (NY-11), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Colin Allred (TX-32), Gilbert Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39), Angie Craig (MN-02), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Dwight Evans (PA-04), Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-01), Dina Titus (NV-01), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Susan Wild (PA-07), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01), Elaine Luria (VA-02), John Sarbanes (MD-03), Bradley Schneider (IL-10), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Conor Lamb (PA-17), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), TJ Cox (CA-21), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Ben McAdams (UT-04), Hank Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Scott Peters (CA-52), Sharice Davids (KS-03), Terri Sewell (AL-07), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Brian Higgins (NY-26), Kathleen Rice (NY-04), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Alana Lowenthal (CA-47), John Yarmuth (KY-03), Jose Serrano (NY-15), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Donald Beyer, Jr. (NY-20), Jesus Garcia (IL-04), Adam Schiff (CA-28), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Bobby Rush (IL-01), David Price (NC-04), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Joseph Kennedy, III (MA-04), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Henry Cuellar (TX-28).

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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