In a bizarre attempt to protect campaign contributors, the Trump administration is further relaxing federal oversight on nursing homes amid a deadly viral pandemic that is particularly dangerous for short-staff and poorly managed nursing homes.  According to the New York Times, this plan has been in the works since last summer but the Trump Administration is using the tragedy for their political benefit. The Trump administration would eliminate the requirement that nursing homes keep at least one infection-prevention specialist on hand. This will not keep people safe.

According to Times, CMS reports that about 380,000 residents die from infections annually, and infection prevention is the number-one failure that earns nursing homes federal citations.  COVID-19 is especially vulnerable to the elderly than other age groups, accounting for most of the deaths so far, and residents of long-term care facilities have the kinds of pre-existing conditions that increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.

CMS did announce mandatory restrictions on nursing home visitors and non-essential personnel, as well as limitations on group activities among residents. But relaxing oversight over an industry responsible for caring for the country’s most at-risk population in the middle of a national emergency? Now really doesn’t feel like the time.