Reps. Eshoo, Schakowsky, Shalala, Dean, and Moulton Introduce Bill to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 in Nursing Homes

May 20, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) and Representatives Donna Shalala (FL-27), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), and Seth Moulton (MA-06) introduced legislation to provide $20 billion to help states, nursing homes, and intermediate care facilities contain the spread of COVID-19 to protect residents and staff.

The Nursing Home COVID-19 Protection and Prevention Act would help states invest in “strike teams” of health care providers to assist when a COVID-19 outbreak occurs or “cohorting” to safely separate residents with COVID-19 from those who do not have the virus. The funding can also be used to increase staffing, testing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce infections from the virus.

“One-third of all U.S. COVID-19 deaths are nursing home residents or workers. This staggering tragedy requires a corresponding response,” said Rep. Eshoo. “The Nursing Home COVID-19 Protection and Prevention Act would provide $20 billion in emergency funding so that states and nursing homes can mount the needed strategies to protect this extremely vulnerable population of Americans.”

“We have failed to adequately protect our nursing homes and other long-term care facilities from COVID-19. Over 30,000 residents and workers have unnecessarily died. I’m proud to join Representatives Eshoo, Shalala, Dean, and Moulton to introduce legislation that will surge $20 billion to states and facilities that have become the hotspots of this pandemic,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “The COVID-19 crisis in our nation’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities demands an ongoing response.” 

“More than one million people in this country live in nursing homes or similar facilities. This virus has caused a devastating loss of life among the people who live and work in nursing homes,” said Rep. Shalala. “This bill will provide the necessary funding to protect these vulnerable people for the remainder of this pandemic.”

“Our nursing homes, their residents, and staffs have been rocked by this pandemic accounting for a high number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, one of which includes my own mother-in-law – Joan Cunnane,” Rep. Dean said. “This legislation will provide more funding, and develop a system of rapid response for our nursing homes – because the only way to repay these heroes is with legislation that will keep them safe and healthy.”

"The measure of government's success is whether it can defend its people. We are failing to defend Americans in nursing homes from the coronavirus, and our leaders must act,” Rep. Moulton said.  “This bill will help save lives.”

“AARP supports the Nursing Home COVID-19 Protection and Prevention Act that would help protect the health and safety of people in nursing homes and other facilities by supporting testing, personal protective equipment, staffing and more. The proposal would also help protect the rights of residents and their families. Congress should act immediately to stem the loss of life and slow the spread of the virus,” said Bill Sweeney, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for AARP.

The Nursing Home COVID-19 Protection and Prevention Act provides $20 billion in emergency funding to states, territories and Indian Tribes to support nursing homes, intermediate care facilities and psychiatric hospitals with COVID-19 response. States would provide nursing homes with technical assistance on implementing infection control protocols, minimizing transfers, facilitating discharges to home and community-based settings and adequate staffing, among other topics. It would also require HHS to develop guidance on cohorting best practices, including on how to safeguard resident rights.

To read a copy of the legislation, click HERE.

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