Trump has finally admitted that the federal response to nursing home needs has been inadequate. Trump announced the formation of a nursing home task force last week because of the lobbying pressure by industry leaders and public attention to a rising COVID-19 death toll among nursing home residents. It will be composed of leading industry lobbyists, doctors and scientists, resident and patient advocates, family members, infection and prevention control specialists, and state and local authorities.
“The commission will comprehensively assess the response,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said during an afternoon press conference. “It will identify best practices, and also provide recommendations for how we go forward to protect our nursing home residents and make sure we are providing the best quality of life.”
Each facility will soon get two weeks’ worth of personal protective equipment being shipped to each of the nation’s 15,400 nursing homes over the next month along with millions in aid. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will ship a week’s worth of eye protection, masks, gowns and gloves twice to each facility no later than July 4.
“It’s a spot that we have to take care of,” Trump said. “I guess you could call it a little bit of a weak spot, because things are happening at the nursing homes that we’re not happy about that. We don’t want that to happen.”
Long-term care providers have finally been given a high priority status to receive personal protection equipment and other relief from the federal government during the ongoing coronavirus health crisis. It is about time. The nursing home industry’s failure and lack of staffing and PPE has resulted in more than 21,000 deaths in U.S. skilled facilities.
Meanwhile the industry wants to benefit and be rewarded for their horrible response to preventing and containing the virus by asking taxpayers to give them $10 billion dollars with no strings attached and no oversight. Industry lobbyists have requested the Trump Administration to set aside $10 billion in relief funding for skilled nursing facilities. Every facility has already received millions from the CARES Act.
South Carolina has only disclosed @250 deaths from COVID-19 but those numbers do not include hundreds of deaths in nursing homes around the State.