Sherrill, Pascrell Reintroduce Legislation to Improve Oversight, Safety at Nursing Homes
Washington, DC, February 5, 2021
Representatives Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11) and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-9) today reintroduced their legislation to improve oversight of long-term care facilities and protect seniors and workers. While only 0.5 percent of U.S. residents live in nursing homes, individuals in nursing homes account for more than a third of the nation’s COVID-19 deaths.
“Too many Americans have died in nursing homes during the COVID-10 pandemic, but it didn’t have to be this way,” said Rep. Sherrill. “A generally callous approach to our seniors in long-term care facilities, including years of decreased oversight, transparency, and enforcement, has resulted in tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. Instead, strong infection controls and oversight are key to health and safety in nursing homes. We are reintroducing our legislation to ensure pandemic preparedness in nursing homes by providing states the resources necessary to monitor and fix any issues that arise. Seniors and their families deserve to know that we are doing everything we can to make our nursing homes safe.”
“The gaps and deficiencies in nursing facilities were exposed by the pandemic and exacerbated by the Trump regime’s damaging deregulation and catastrophic mismanagement,” said Rep. Pascrell. “The previous administration’s failures allowed long-standing issues to fester in nursing facilities, endangering millions of seniors, veterans, and other vulnerable residents. Countless lives were lost. Our PROTECT LTC Act will not only protect residents in long-term care facilities during as this pandemic continues, but will also prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks. We need to start planning for the next crisis right now.”
The Protecting Residents with Oversight, Transparency, and Enforcement for Compassionate Treatment in Long-Term Care (PROTECT LTC Act) provides $100 million to State Survey Agencies (SAs) to increase investigations and surveys, purchase personal protective equipment, and boost staffing levels. The bill also increases civil monetary penalties for outbreak-specific violations at nursing homes, including staff shortages, overcrowding, and insufficient PPE. Under this legislation, state agencies must complete a standard assessment within four weeks of an outbreak and every six months afterward. State survey agencies will have flexibility on timing and will prioritize follow-up assessments for facilities in areas with a high infection rate and those with a history of low staffing or that have previously been out of compliance.