AGS Commends Leaders in Senate, House for Advancing Important Protections in Nursing Homes, Long-Term Care

  • .@AmerGeriatrics commends @SenBobCasey @SenWhitehouse @RepAnnaEshoo @JanSchakowsky for introducing S3768 and HR6972, proposals in Senate and House to address #COVID19 in nursing homes http://ow.ly/wKE330qVHaq

New York (July 2, 2020)—As its more than 6,000 members continue to care for older Americans impacted by COVID-19, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) today thanked Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and House Representatives Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) for contributing to those efforts with nursing home COVID-19 protection and prevention acts introduced in the U.S. Senate (S.3768) and House of Representatives (H.R. 6972), respectively. With estimates suggesting that long-term care facilities account for 30 to 40 percent of U.S. COVID-19 deaths, actions to safe-guard residents and those who care for them are not just important, they are absolutely essential to improving health and safety for us all, AGS experts observed.

“As we’ve already learned, outbreaks in nursing homes are a foreseeable consequence of this pandemic, even with experts working as valiantly as they are,” notes AGS CEO Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA. “But an equally foreseeable opportunity rests in what we can do together to improve prevention and protect older adults, caregivers, and our essential healthcare workforce. We commend Senators Casey and Whitehouse and Representatives Eshoo and Schakowsky for their ongoing work to support older people. We urge Congress to include these bills in the next COVID-19 package given the urgent need to support nursing homes and other long-term care facilities with testing, access to personal protective equipment (PPE), and increased staffing.”

Including the provisions contained in these bills in the next COVID-19 package would advance many priorities already articulated by geriatrics health professionals, including several expressed in a recent AGS policy brief on COVID-19 and nursing homes (DOI: 10.1111/jgs.16477). Among other actions, these legislative proposals would:

  • Provide billions in emergency funding to states, territories, and Indian tribes to support nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, and psychiatric hospitals with staffing, testing, and acquiring PPE and other essential supplies.
  • Require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop guidance to permit and effectively implement “cohorting” (developing living and care arrangements to optimize health and safety).
  • Facilitate collecting and publishing data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, and psychiatric hospitals. The bill also would establish essential and ongoing oversight, including monthly briefings for Congress and an Office of the Inspector General report on the response to the spread of COVID-19.

About the American Geriatrics Society

Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has—for more than 75 years—worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.