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LETTER: Pass Nursing Home COVID-19 Protection and Prevention Act

Pam Zerba
York
Pennsylvania emergency response officials had a plan to protect nursing homes before the coronavirus swept across the state, but it was never fully implemented. Now, many say the state still isn't doing enough, and what it is doing might be too little, too late.

Congress will be adjourning soon for its August recess. Before they leave, it is important that they pass Nursing Home COVID-19 Protection and Prevention Act of 2020. Pennsylvania’s Sen. Bob Casey is one of the sponsors.

We all know that COVID-19 has decimated nursing home, with 69% of deaths from this disease having occurred among residents and staff members of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

More:Grim blame game over COVID deaths in besieged nursing homes

More:Coronavirus exploited Pa. health officials' failure to improve long-standing problems with nursing home oversight

This bipartisan five-point plan would protect nursing home residents and staff by providing adequate PPE and regular testing, creating more transparency, requiring access to virtual visitation, improving staffing oversight, and stopping attempts to provide blanket immunity to long-term care facilities.

This is an area where the federal government can have a real impact. It’s hard to understand why it hasn’t passed. Please contact your House representative and Sen. Pat Toomey to encourage them to enact this bill.